ClaimSmentor Sponsor Xeneros can assist with all your claim licensing needs for Sandy storm duty assignments

October 30, 2012

ClaimSmentor welcomes our newest sponsor Xeneros who can handle all of your claims adjuster licensing needs nationwide to assist you with your licensing needs for Hurricane Sandy duty.

Here is their latest blog addressing emergency adjuster licensing for Hurricane Sandy duty:

http://blog.xeneros.net/2012/10/hurricane-sandy-heading-to-east-coast.html


Excellent info provided by Xeneros about Lessons Learned post Isaac on Louisiana Adjuster licensing issues

September 9, 2012

We had posted a blog with information about Louisiana adjuster licensing as Isaac was approaching the Louisiana coast as the rules regarding working claims in Louisiana had totally changed after Katrina hit which was the last time many independent adjusters had worked there. If you missed that blog, here is the link:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/louisiana-claim-licensing-claim-regulations-breaking-news-more-on-hurricane-isaac/

Xeneros who provides nationwide insurance claims adjuster licensing services for all of your needs has written an excellent blog here outlining problems adjusters, independent adjusting firms, and carriers faced post Isaac landfall as they were unaware of the new licensing procedures in Louisiana.

Great and important information we wanted to share with our readers!


Important information on handling claims in Alabama you may need if working claims in Alabama for Hurricane Isaac

August 27, 2012

Here is important information claim professionals will need if they plan to work claims in Alabama as a result of Isaac to include the Governor emergency declaration, the link for AL emergency adjuster licenses, and claim handling information as well as links to breaking news from the Mobile Press register:

Alabama

Alabama Windpool Info and Links:

https://aiua.org/

Basic AL windpool policy info:

https://aiua.org/pages/basic_coverage

Alabama Emergency Management Website and Contact Numbers:

http://ema.alabama.gov/

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley’s office issues Declaration of Emergency and Evacuation Orders:

http://www.governor.alabama.gov/news/news_detail.aspx?ID=6894

Alabama Department of Insurance link for Emergency Adjuster licenses now that Emergency Declaration Order has been issued for Isaac:

http://www.aldoi.gov/Licensing/EmergencyAdjusterInfo.aspx

Alabama Claim Handling Regulations as posted on Property360.com:

http://publish.sbmcloud.com/media/pdf/pc360/claims-guidelines/Alabama.pdf

Alabama Department of Insurance Claim Handling Regulations for Property and Casualty Claims:

All of these shown regulations below can be found here:

http://www.alabamaadministrativecode.state.al.us/docs/ins/index.html

CHAPTER 482-1-125 STANDARDS FOR PROPERTY/CASUALTY INSURANCE CLAIMS

http://www.alabamaadministrativecode.state.al.us/docs/ins/index.html

CHAPTER 482-1-135 MEDIATION ALTERNATIVE PROCEDURES FOR RESOLUTION OF DISPUTED PERSONAL LINES INSURANCE CLAIMS ARISING FROM HURRICANE, TROPICAL STORM, TORNADOS AND OTHER DISASTERS DAMAGE

CHAPTER 482-1-150

ESTIMATION OF REPLACEMENT COST OF INSURED DWELLINGS

Breaking news link at Alabama Press Register:

http://blog.al.com/live/index.html


Now accepting new registrants for our 50 Hour Fundamentals of Claims course (10 sessions LIVE online)-take our self assessment exam and see if this is for you.

April 16, 2012

We are in the mist of the 2012 tornado and hail season with hurricane season soon to follow June 1, 2012.

As a result of the massive number of tornadoes and hail storms, we are already beginning to receive roster placement requests from numerous newly licensed property adjusters who believe the fact they have a license and perhaps an xactimate class and/ or a cat 101 class under their belt that they are ready to go out and service claims for carriers as a result of damage from these storms.

Check again- take our annual self assessment exam (free) to see how you fare on this exam and see how many of these basic claim handling questions for property claims you can actually answer:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/02/13/have-license-ready-to-go-not-so-quick-take-this-self-assessment-test/

If you find your knowledge lacking after taking the exam, I highly recommend you register for our LIVE online 10 session Fundamentals of Property Claims adjusting class which will start up the first week of May. We will meet on Tuesday and Thursday nights LIVE online from 6:30 to 9:30 pm ET for five weeks to accomplish this training.

New in 2012 we will also be going on the road with an extended version of this course in a five week Monday-Friday to include many practical application workshops, guest speakers, and field trips to enhance your basic claim knowledge. These live classes will initially be offered in Jacksonville, Florida, Huntsville, TX, and Nashville, TN.

For complete details on our reasonable registration fees, course syllabus information, etc email dkmoroy@dimechimes.com for further details.

 


Important changes coming 1/18/12 to Florida Adjuster License appointments and renewals- a must read for FL adjusters

January 16, 2012

Thanks to the Merlin Law group for sharing this update notifying Florida adjusters of upcoming changes at the FL Department of Financial Services regarding Florida adjusters licenses:

http://www.propertyinsurancecoveragelaw.com/2012/01/articles/insurance/important-changes-regarding-adjuster-appointments/


January 2011 classes for Property and Casualty Adjusters to begin soon! Register now!

December 28, 2010

We are hosting the following classes in January 2011. Registration information and full class syllabus info is now posted in our ClaimSmentor forums for the following courses:

1) Introduction to Claims Careers for newly licensed independent adjusters:

We will host a two night session on January 4, 2011 and January 6, 2011 live online at ClaimSmentor for those newly licensed adjusters who need to further their knowledge about opportunities in Property and Casualty claim training. We cover salary information for staff adjuster postions and fee schedules types and samples for independent adjusters. We cover resume requirements and how they differ in the claims industry as well as providing resume templates. We cover the differences in staff and independent adjuster careers, the differences in inside adjusting and field adjusting as well as information on catastrophe versus daily adjusting. These will be held from 6-9pm CST on the nights listed above.

For complete details send request to join ClaimSmentor to DkMoroy@Dimechimes.com as you must be a registered member of ClaimSmentor to sign up for the classes and to login to the forums for complete details.

2) Eight session Fundamentals of Property Adjusting course held Monday and Thursday nights beginning January 17, 2011 from 6-9pm CST live online. It is recommended you begin with the Claims Career Introductory courses in #1 above before taking this course. Course covers Additional living expense claim handling, contents claim handling, disaster mass file assignment handling, coverage question handling, all claim forms and samples, night spent with live claim management system to learn how to work with CMS assignments, file requirements and file order, and much much more. Same instructions apply about registering for ClaimSmentor to view complete syllabus and details on this course.

3) Liability claims handling for homeowner policies. Course covers medical bill review, liability claim reporting, recorded statement outlines and instructions, CPT and ICD-9 billing applicable to all medical payment and liability files. This is followed by sessions covering dog bite liability investigations and claim file requirements, premises liability claim handling, and dangerous instrumentality and intentional act claim handling. These liability classes will take place once each week for 5 weeks on Tuesday evenings or Tuesday day sessions. Complete details can be accessed once you follow instructions above to get registered for ClaimSmentor!


An Open Letter to Admiral Thad Allen, President Obama, White House News Correspondents, ESIS Insurance, and All involved in the BP Oil Response- We Can Help Address Your Claims Concerns- Lead, Follow, or Get the Heck out of our Way!!!!

June 7, 2010

My father, a dedicated retired Navy Commander, now deceased would be rolling over in his grave today if  he  were here to witness the disaster in the claims process now 50 or so days beyond  the BP Oil Spill. This applies as well to all of us living along the coast and anxious claims industry members on the independent adjusting side of things….yes the very ones who can contribute to immediate processing of the BP oil claims and working in your claims offices yet we hear NOTHING.

Why would I include mention of my dad in a BP oil spill claims process  blog?  First of all he was my friend, my mentor throughout my career, and he was known well in his naval career for his business motto “Make Things Happen”. Second, I’ve researched now retired Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen. He definitely looks like he was the right man to be appointed to head up the federal response to the oil spill disaster. I found out today that he was also in charge of the Katrina response and found a good article commenting on his diligent research during Katrina he did BEFORE making a decision. We only ask that you include Independent Adjusting firm owners in that equation for the federal response on claims processes. We are the answer to improving the claims process as we do work for many companies where staff adjusters and insurance companies can respond only to the policyholders with their company. Here is a link to the bio of Admiral Allen and to an article commenting on his outstanding skills in conducting research.

Here is a link to his most impressive bio and dedication to a career in disaster response since retiring from the USCG:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thad_Allen

Here is also great information documenting the date he was appointed to head the command of the federal response. This helped me have an inkling of understanding as to why he would have suggested the national guard involvement in the claims process- he has more knowledge of their skills than we do but I still don’t understand why in claims offices versus oil clean up operations when we can do that as independent adjusters:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thad_Allen#Hurricane_Katrina

Here is a link to the Washington Post blog explaining the four leadership lessons we all can use by following Admiral Allen which I really enjoyed.

Rumors on the streets or email highway  in the independent adjuster world are saying that BP has instructed the ONE adjusting firm assigned to handle the claims not to deploy anyone experienced in handling the Exxon Valdez oil spill claims. Please look into this and assure us that is not true and the thousands upon thousands of independent adjusters sitting at home not deployed to help are not being excluded because they have experience handling claims. That is just unimagineable and I hope proves not to be true. The numbers of people who have applied directly to ESIS and to independent adjusting firms who have heard nothing might prove what you are told when investigating this that it is a fact. Let us know please. Rumors can destroy you. Facts posted on the ever popping up response websites would be helpful. Also, I suggest you not believe one rumor that we have run out of  independent adjusters available. A quick check of the number of licensed resident and non resident independent adjusters will prove this is impossible even if 10,000 are already deployed yet we hear less than 1,000 are now in the BP field claim offices. *Update 6/9/10- we have now heard of numerous more EXPERIENCED adjusters who were deployed today to Worley- this dispels the rumors that experienced are not going.

This blog displays links for search terms adjusters use that leads them to our blog. Since the BP oil crisis, search terms for BP oil adjusters and adjusting firms are atleast 50% of all search hits on this site  where adjusting firms and adjusters are looking for information as to who is handling the BP Oil spill claims.

Thus far the information circulating in our discussions  is that ESIS has only appointed ONE adjusting company to assist their personnel. ONE-and that firm fortunately is a very reputable adjusting firm- Worley Catastrophe www.worleyco.com . Rumor on the street is that they are inundated with resumes flowing in but many many of us have not even gotten  a reply to  email and resume submissions yet.

I am extremely disappointed in the comments regarding the claims process problems by Gibbs  and Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen in today’s press conference. While I am very happy to know plans are to improve the claims process, I could not be more disappointed to hear you are considering National Guard personnel to work the claims office when we have the skills necessary to create a professional  claims image for BP and for the Federal government of their claims process. National Guard members need to be used for what they do best which is protecting Americans. Send them to guard our borders to protect our west coast neighbors in AZ, CA and other states with border issues. Have them assist with patrolling our beaches if coastal residents are forced to evacuate when oil spill makes their homes unlivable and let US– the Independent Adjusting community- do what we know best which is  responding to claims disasters. * This too was dispelled in news that the AL National Guard is being used in the field for three weeks to notify residents of where they can report a claim to.

We will waive  our fees to help you or assigned independent adjusting firms send in staffing to employ independent adjusters. ESIS can disburse them to claims offices.

What else can the government do?

1) You can help claims personnel find reasonable housing to reduce per diem costs to BP  so all claimants can be paid  by providing temporary quarters for housing for independent claims personnel. Rumors have it that BP is reimbursing 100.00 per day for costs incurred to find housing and every bit of that will be needed by independents for hotel rooms to stay in claim office territories while working in area damage zones. Can’t you use your influence to negotiate discounted hotel rates? To prohibit price gouging on hotel rates as state insurance commissioners do following major disasters? A very good argument for state regulations on disasters involving claims.

2) While we definitely support the use of displaced workers in the fishing industry…don’t you have things a bit reversed?  The great people in the fishing industry have the physical stamina to work in beach and ocean environments like field claims adjusters do. Why not put them to work on the clean up efforts to stop the spread of this oil and use trained inside independent claims adjusters in the claims offices. They are experienced  to deployment within 24 hours of assignments nationwide and experienced  to working 10 to 12 hour shifts  6 or 7 days a week and that will go far in speeding up the claims process.

3) What are the licensing requirements for the claims office “adjusters” ?  I hear FL’s Crist has already declared FL Emergency declarations  to prepare FL for the incoming oil spill damage spreading our way. Once that happens on normal major disasters, this allows emergency adjusters to enter states with a temporary emergency adjuster license. I sure hope that is going on here with one exception I will address next. Why can’t President Obama declare a special emergency order allowing this in all coastal states experiencing oil spill claims or if this is only the perogative of State Insurance Departments then please immediately approve the use of emergency licenses for any independent adjuster who can prove an active license in another state. Atleast by running all claims personnel through the state insurance departments (with BP picking up the cost of the emergency licensing and state required fingerprints) BP claimants would not be exposed to potential scams if convicted  felony offenders get involved in claims or entering homes and businesses. I have no doubt Worley is handling this for the adjusters they are sending in as most independent firms do now but what about the folks being plopped right into the claims offices by other sources without proper criminal background checks (if that is happening) ?

Speaking of state regulation- are state insurance commissioners going to be involved? Will the individual state statute of limitatons apply by state or is there a federal statute that will provide one standard  statute of limitations giving all BP claimants the same time frame and deadline for filing a suit should that become necessary. You can see they are very clearly different in coastal states:

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/article-29941.html

Chip Merlin, a consumer attorney wrote a blog this week suggesting BP use CPA’s and accountants on the loss of income claims. While he provides good reasons, we in the claim industry are plenty capable of helping issue the $5,000 advances and there are thousands of adjusters trained in business interruption claims for loss of rents, tourism cancellations, and much more but I do agree CPA firms are often used by insurers for proper determination of amounts due for large commercial business interruption claims. In fact, my brother in law is a retired IRS CPA and has huge resources to other CPA’s who are also interested in deploying. In fact, this week I will post a large number of online business interruption links for some great information on business interruption claim training.

BP- please ensure that your hiring process for claims office personnel excludes any public adjuster currently licensed in ANY state in the USA. They are the driving force for referrals to plaintiff attorneys and more importantly we need to resolve claims prior to litigation consideration so a vast number of BP claimants do not suffer loss of settlement dollars by signing contracts with firms charging excessive attorney fees to represent them on these claims. Here is a good example of problems addressed by California’s proactive Insurance Commissioner Poizner warning CA consumers on his April 16, 2010 Scam artist warning  press release to be leary of unlicensed public adjusters and unlicensed contractors. His feelings seem to be clear in this press release about this group of potential public adjuster unlicensed adjusters.

How about using this link above as a template for a great posting for gulf coast residents warning them of the same potential to get taken advantage of by scam artists?  You can post this warning on each of the 4 state sites now shown in your Area Plans at http://www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com ?

Admiral Allen and President Obama, please protect all parties operating at the claims offices. Use your national guards to protect them from frustrated residents in coastal communities who might take out their frustrations on the face of the disaster response- the personnel in the claims offices. I also would like to make sure to enact provisions prohibiting plaintiff attorneys from naming adjusting firms and individual “adjusters”  from being named  in lawsuits unless they have absolute proof that a firm or particular adjuster deviated from BP or ESIS instructions for claims handling. We had untold numbers of independent adjusters named in TX claims litigation  (note cases on this link filed by the Mostlyn law firm in Jefferson County, TX ) who in most cases were merely following insurance company  instructions which they are not allowed to deviate from. This increases our premiums for required Error and Ommissions coverage they are going to need to cover their extensive expenses to be removed from a lawsuit. BP should be providing blanket E and O coverage for all claims office personnel because in most cases, they will not even qualify for E & O coverage since they have no experience. This is going to drive up the cost of E & O coverage for all independent adjusters for years to come. Please check with www.cplic.net who specializes in error and ommisions coverage for independent adjusting firms and independent adjusters. Insurance companies do provide the defense and costs for staff claims personnel. Many contracts by state insurance such as TWIA in Texas and Citizens Insurance in Florida   included terms in RFP’s stating  (scroll down to public information on RFP08-0016) that they would not provide a defense. In fact ,TWIA sent out an email post IKE that specifically told adjusting firms and independent adjusters to hire their own attorneys as they were overwhelmed with the responses to Complaints they had to file on behalf of TWIA leaving adjusting firms and independent adjusters to get this handled.  Additonally, let us know who we need to contact with our Congressman to have bills introduced to prohibit state agencies and insurance companies from imposing hefty fines (go back to link above to RFP08-0016 ) on adjusting firms and individual independents for unreasonable expectations as we too suffer from unreasonable expectations on time service when resources do get stretched thin during major disasters. This should include establishing standards to restrict insurance commissioners from imposing the same fines. Here is a link to the 2007 Citizens of FL Claims Manual  still up on the Citizens Task Force on Claims Handling which includes an example of unrealistic expectations during times of major disasters. This should also include prohitibing carriers from fining adjusting firms who fall short of being able to deploy numbers they committed to on RFP’s (request for proposals for laymen) which they can prove they have on the rosters prior to a major disaster but those same resources won’t be at their finger tips as they scatter for other opportunities servicing claims – especially based on the whether the fee billing is reasonable or not. The adjusting firms have no control over this as we are talking about independent adjusters with no benefits operating on 1099’s. They have to go where they can find a guarantee of work when it is offered. Please help us out here!

My dad’s common quote “Lead, Follow, or get the Heck out of my way” is certainly applicable here. President Obama is not in the claims business, carriers’ cannot provide their staff adjusters under present processes where they handle their own claims and only involved in Flood claims processing for the government. We as independent adjusters can help BP and Admiral Allen who is overseeing the government response to the oil spill. So….if you are just deploying ONE adjusting firm, then please contact me. I’ll freely share my information for some great additional adjusting firms based on members I have personally come to know over the past five years through their participation on ClaimSmentor.

Please do not tie up Worley’s executives. They are well respected in the claims industry- you have assigned them claims- let them do their job following your claims handling guidelines but do not put another black eye on the independent claims industry- we can’t take the blame when you will not even deploy us. Seems like today’s news release is starting the claims blame game which isn’t helping resolve the issue. Months ago I wrote blog about the claims game for insurance company disaster responses. Can the USA government with their vast agency resources not  “make things happen” ?

President Obama, I know your wife is a strong supporter of Education. I am as well and have now volunteered my time for 4.5 years creating the first online e-mentoring group ( CADO first with forums and links for firms- our site hosts the actual classes now ) for independent adjusters to provide them educational information for professional claims training throughout the USA. We have access to excellent sources of claim trainers as well who are very experienced in deployments and training at disaster induction centers.

A  last suggestion for federal government and BP claims response- COME OUT OF HIDING- locating available adjusters or the firms handling claims shouldn’t be a where is Waldo’s game trying to track down the information.  As a fellow Golfer…you can choose this city BEFORE the oil spill arrives to dispel rumors you are making  trips to the gulf coast only for photo opportunities. Here’s your chance!

 Heck- I’ll be glad to “Make Things Happen” and host a group of reputable independent adjusting firm leaders to gather here in Jacksonville in our beach community of Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. We have a great location overlooking the Players Club here at Sawgrass…..the same location where Tiger Woods gave his return speech. We invite you to follow his lead- is all you need to do is show up and meet these great leaders. They would be more than willing to make reliable suggestions. They just hold back due to the fear of carriers retaliation if they go public under normal circumstances. We are used to this media restriction in the claims industry due to insurance company carrier Code of Conduct forms. The purpose would be a townhall meeting for positive suggestions by independent claim firm owners and head managers.

You show up- I’ll host the conference center. Smile- I know that is a simplistic offer with the involved security you need. However, Sawgrass  home of  Tournament  Players Championship  since 1977 is well equipped to plan for your arrival and we’ll meet you there!

We’ll make the same offer to work with any news agency like CNN, HLN, Fox News, or any state news reporters interested in talking to a group of claim managers  even if  news agencies have to allow participants to remain anonymous with voice overs and protection of their identity so they can provide truthful evaluations of the claims process and stories about what they have heard in response to their efforts to get through to ESIS claims executives as it isn’t great news although we recognize they too are overwhelmed with the situation.

 This is not acceptable time service for any insurance company, claims adjusting firm nor an individual adjuster and definitely should not be acceptable response time with BP with  their huge profits -come see us independent claims folks who are regularly following the insurance crisis in coastal communities.

We- the Independent Adjuster community- are the group who can help professionally improve the BP claims process- just do what you say you will do…….create jobs, take people off the unemployment lines but please use the RIGHT PEOPLE for the RIGHT positions where our  skills can best service the claimants of these disasters. There is a link to my prior blogs in response to this blog posting about the claims blame game, hopefully we won’t just need to substitute the ridiculous blame game organization chart  very soon and substitute the parties now involved in the BP oil claims because right now my honest evaluation is we need one to follow the BP oil spill blame game parties. Let’s reverse this quickly. Insurance commissioners never stand by and merely observe what insurance companies do. Instead they monitor them regularly and require weekly status reports on the number of claims procecessed during major catastrophes.

In Florida during the 4 hurricanes in 04, carriers and adjusters were held up to stringent deadlines which were unreasonable given the repeated events here. How about talking with our former FL Insurance commissioner for reasonable expectations. Alex Sink has also done an excellent job as current FL Insurance Commissioner and is another reliable source on reasonable expectations and time lines on loss of income claims deadlines as they require a much longer pending tail for closure due to the ongoing losses. Heck, go straight to all insurance commissioners for a prompt discussion to help make your decisions- respected members of the NAIC  National Association of Insurance commissioners  and get their valued input. I’d also recommend you talk to the NACA  past President Woody Britton who is a weath of information on catastophe deployments.

There is much more I can add to my suggestions but no one is asking me nor valued members and managers in the independent claims industry from the independent adjusting firm side with the exception of ONE independent adjusting firm. If there  are more, please respond and let us know the name, website, contact phone number for each adjusting  firm with a definite contract to handle these claims.

We also request you stop the bleeding and announce this on your websites so independent  adjusters aren’t on standby with false promises to go to work on BP oil spill claims by firms not even under consideration by BP or ESIS to handle claims. Independents are already on standby with many firms and we have no idea what the likelihood is of ever deploying.

We want to help and know you are facing oil spill disaster claims of untold proportions. Please let us know just how we can apply our training and skills to assist you to speed up the claim process.

President Obama and respected Admiral Allen, our intention is not to be critical of the response, the intent is to move forward from this moment forward to speed up the claims process and stop the spread of this historic oil spill. We don’t mind your use of a telepromters, we’d love you to bring your daughters to experience our pristine beaches and let your daughters learn the joy of collecting sharks teeth on the beaches at Mickler’s landing. I assure you they are not attached to the shark (smile) and it’s much healthier than them being exposed to picking up tar balls on the beaches. We want you to select this area as a pre-oil spill venue where you are proactive coming before the oil spill reaches us. You can take time (yes we do understand work/ life issues for emergency responders) while here to take the kids to explore the Naval Aircraft carriers at Mayport Naval Air Station, a follow up with a visit to our oldest city of St Augustine and especially the old fort and the Fountain of Youth tour. It will help your family have a good grasp on what living in a continental USA beach community is all about before we incur damages coming our way.

By the way- one last story about my dad- my hero- you talked yesterday about determining whose A** to kick– well we have a military award plaque still up at my parents wall at home here in Jacksonville where they awarded “my dad” with a replica of his well known A** kicking boots while serving out at sea as an Aircraft Maintence Commander. He had 2 shoes in yellow and he painted a different colored dot on each toe to indicate which parties he was holding responsible  for a problem and the dot showed if it was an enlisted man or an officer under his command. Your family will understand the significance of the colored dots if they can view the take off and landing of military aircraft on landing decks while out at sea. It is a trip they will never forget as I never have when going out on a family cruise day which allowed us to see what my dad was up to all of those years he was at sea. The guys look like MnM’s running around so quickly as the planes take of f and land when you get to watch it from above. Heck, if you don’t have time- send someone out to video this in action when one of the carriers near you are hosting one of these events.

To independent adjusters : If you missed the White House press conference  6/7/10 , CNN now has it posted. Watch the claims process comments for  yourself as well. 

 Here is the link:

http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/06/07/gulf.oil.spill/index.html?hpt=T1

Sign me- a regular CNN , HLN, and FOX news BP Oil spill news follower …..Deb


Louisiana Citizens- Does anyone understand this AIA recommendation? Would you work claims as an independent adjuster there?

March 29, 2010

AIA  (American Insurance Association ) who represents approximately 300 insurance companies says proposals to abolish Louisiana Citizens  are misguided in this March 18, 2010 article:

http://www.insuranceheadlines.com/Homeowners/6563.html

AIA’s main argument was the need for available insurance in coastal communities. I find this argument interesting in light of the 100 million incentive Louisiana offered as incentive to induce insurance companies to offer insurance in Louisiana as outlined in many articles. Two of the articles are linked below which explain the details of the incentive:

http://www.insurereinsure.com/BlogHome.aspx?entry=223 and this one posted on the Louisiana Department of Insurance website:

http://www.ldi.state.la.us/InsureIncentiveProgram/index.htm

There were also many post Katrina articles about the carriers taking out policies from Louisiana Citizens such as:

Here is a list of several of the carriers who did take out policies from Louisiana Citizens through the incentive program:

http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/business/17179086.html?showAll=y&c=y

40,000 policies removed by six carriers:

http://www.ldi.la.gov/public_affairs/Press_Releases/2008_Press_Releases/10-8-08%2040,000%20Insurance%20Policies%20to%20be%20removed%20from%20Citizens.htm

This seems strange in view of the many articles posted post hurricane Katrina about problems with Louisiana Citizens after Katrina to include but not limited to some of the following issues:

This article just came out March 23, 2010 regarding a former executive pleading guiltyf to theft charges:

http://ifawebnews.com/2010/03/23/former-louisiana-citizens-executive-pleads-guilty-to-theft-charge/

This February 2010 provides more details about the alleged charges against this executive and the trial then upcoming in March 2010:

http://www.autoquotenow.com/auto-insurance-news/state/former-insurance-exec-to-go-on-trial-in-louisiana-2040.php

What about this class action against Louisiana Citizens per this LA Department of Insurance press release on a 17 million dollar settlement for their failure to settle Katrina claims within the statutory deadlines?

http://www.ldi.state.la.us/public_affairs/Press_Releases/2009_Press_Releases/8-19-09%20Citizens%20suit%20press%20conference.htm

This article from April 2009 outlines information about another class action lawsuit against Louisiana Citizens for failure to pay overhead and profit on claims:

http://blog.nola.com/tpmoney/2009/04/a_state_appeals_court_has.html

How about the news the Louisiana Citizens Board approved 35 million to settle yet a different class action lawsuit that involved 30,000 insureds due to poor claim  handling:

http://channels.isp.netscape.com/pf/story.jsp?floc=FF-APO-1333&idq=/ff/story/0001%2F20081114%2F0813395122.htm&sc=1333

This next article discusses a court dismissing a federal case against Louisiana Citizens for  racketeering, money laundering, wire fraud and mail fraud for their own enrichment :

 http://www.nola.com/business/t-p/index.ssf?/base//money-1/1218864023315000.xml&coll=1

In this article regarding disputes between the LA Insurance Dept and the legislative auditor over release of Insurance Dept emails it says:

http://www.theadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080204/OPINION/802040302/1014

“Jim Donelon, state insurance commissioner, and Steve Theriot, the legislative auditor, are old friends now engaged in a months-old spat over Theriot’s audit of the Department of Insurance. Along with subpoenas, a lawsuit, the occasional snide remark and accusation of wrongdoing, each man has used public hearings to air his grievances about the other. ”

This article from 2007 discussses a major overhaul needed of Louisiana Citizens and citizens outrage over assessements as well as a good explanation about who the members of the Citizens board consists of:

http://blog.nola.com/times-picayune/2007/10/citizens_board_taken_to_task.html

Article discussing Citizens of LA settlement of hundreds of cases of “slabbed” claims from Katrina:

http://fpn.advisen.com/?resource_id=611446981029447447#top

Links to articles about the MAJOR computer glitches and accounting audit nightmares experienced at Louisiana Citizens after Katrina:

http://www.property-casualty.com/News/2007/3/Pages/La–Last-Resort-Insurer-Missing-Audit.aspx

While I don’t know the current status of improvements at Louisiana Citizens, here were a few articles post Katrina showing some good things for adjusters and citizens of Louisiana to include:

Senate Bill No. 183 requiring Lousiana Citizens utilize adjusters and adjusting firms who had been domiciled in the state 5 years or more and was effective in August 2007:

http://legis.state.la.us/billdata/streamdocument.asp?did=436266

Most importantly is that Louisiana did not have adjuster licensing requirements at the time of Katrina’s landfall but did begin requirement adjusters be licensed since then. Resources for adjusters seeking resident, non resident licenses, emergency licenses, and more information on the Claims Adjusters Acts should use this link:

http://www.ldi.state.la.us/Licensing/Producer/index.html

Here is more info on Louisiana adjuster licensing from when they initial announced the licensing requirements:

http://www.ldi.louisiana.gov/documents/licensing/adjuster/AdjusterLicensingInLouisiana.pdf

http://www.ldi.louisiana.gov/documents/licensing/Producer/LAClaimsAdjusterAct.pdf

This article had indicated part of the problems were lack of staffing and resignation of an accounting manager leaving no one to answer the audit questions due to the severe computer glitches and problems with accounting:

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southcentral/2007/04/05/78506.htm?ref=feed

Another article says most of the paperwork could not be produced on over 300,000 in expenses:

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southcentral/2007/06/25/81076.htm

While I don’t have more time today to spend on this blog, a good place to start your research on current trends and activities, here is a link to the Board of Governors meeting minutes for the past several years you might want to review before considering taking claim assignments from them. http://www.lacitizens.com/MeetingAgenda.aspx

It is not only the adjusting firm you need to do due diligence on before accepting work but also the carrier you will be assigned to to protect yourself from the ever increasing possibility of delays and non payment issues on fee bills. I study the state wind pools for members of ClaimSmentor as the wind pools often present the greatest opportunity for independent insurance adjuster assignments during major disasters. Only you can decide if you are comfortable working for an adjusting firm or insurance company. We do hope the links posted above  help you make the best possible decision.

Should you decide you do wish to work assignments for them, we have been able to locate only one adjusting firm thus far offering Louisiana Citizens Adjuster Certification and that is AmCat.  Here is a link to their training site offering not only Louisiana Citizens certification but certification for many other carriers:

http://www.adjusterclasses.com/


Guest Blog by Ray Hauser of ClaimSmentor-Ray Shares His Personal Story in our “Luck Where Preparation Meets Opportunity Series”

March 17, 2009

 

 

Claims Education Magazine published my article in 2008   “Luck…where Preparation meets Opportunity”.

To continue with our strong recommendation that newly licensed adjusters seek reputable training opportunities that are recognized in our industry, Ray is a prime example of  what independent trainee adjusters are going through to get a foot in the door for adjusting assignments.

Here is Ray’s story on the long  journey post license to fill in the squares due to  insurance company and adjusting firm requirements before he can receive assignments. Ray, we appreciate your time contributing to this series of articles. I thoroughly enjoyed your participating in our January/February 50 Hour Fundamentals of Property adjusting course. 

This article link will also remain on our Guest Blog page above with all other entries by contributing bloggers. I do think it is important to highlight what those wanting a career in claims can expect  (from the independent side) and we have several interesting blogs by others when they were new in the field. If I asked Ray what he has spent thus far on licensing, rope and harness classes, and all of his other course fees plus transportation and lodging, I would guess he is in the 7,500 to 10K range. I see this regularly thus my push on looking for other sources for this education.

                  Getting Started in Adjusting by Ray Hauser

 

After I completed my 4 day licensing course I became aware very quickly that the process of finding work may be just a little harder than what I had expected. Many of my fellow course-mates fell by the wayside believing the task was next to impossible. Company after company stated on their websites that they required either a  4 year degree, or at least 2 years of experience, neither of which I had. Here I am, just a few months down the line, with a totally different perspective in terms of what it takes to find a job. What’s changed? Knowledge! The claims companies want knowledge, and they need to know you have the ability to settle a claim and leave the insured with a good experience. Knowledge and customer service drive this train! We adjusters have to understand that the claims companies are not going to hand out jobs to people with just a 4 day crash course in insurance and a 3 day course in Xactimate! That kind of knowledge is only the starting point. So the question becomes, “What else do I have to do, and where do I go to get it?” Of course it’s always beneficial if you start with some construction and customer service experience. I’m a new adjuster too, so believe me when I say “I don’t have all the answers”. But here’s my opinion.

 

First, you should register on web sites that offer information that can help you build your resume.

 

There’s no better place to go than to ClaimSmentor.  Here’s a website that’s a source of information not readily found anywhere else. Anything to do with insurance is found right here. The gal that runs it, Debbie Moroy (debbie@dimechimes.com), has dedicated her life to training new people. She started her career in 1973 with State Farm, and started the adjusting aspect of it over 26 years ago. Who better to learn from? Reading her resume is like reading a dictionary:

 

State Farm Basic, Intermediate, Commercial, and Management Schools. Vale Tech Residential Estimatics,Haag Roofing School, Georgia Arson Fraud School, many others too numerous to list. Have all 5 State Farm certifications to include wind, estimatics, commercial, earthquake, etc.. Have completed IIA, AIC, and 9 parts of CPCU.

 

Because of her reputation in the industry and the fact that she’s so well respected, and knows so many people after these many years, it’s my opinion that having her knowledge as your foundation in claims adjusting is absolutely paramount and priceless!

 

Once you’re registered on her site, you have access to up to the minute information on certification courses, other website links, insurance industry news bulletins, magazine articles, and far too many other items for me to list here. Everyone getting started should take her 50 hr Fundamentals of Property Claims course. In that course you’re taught : Contents Claim Handling Guidelines, Additional Living Expense Claim Handling, Condo Master and Condo Unit-owner Claims , File Documentation Requirements , Carrier Service Standard Expectations,  Insured/Agency Communications, and so much more. “ The class is designed to fill in major gaps of important things you need to know. The course does not cover the estimate software programs and scoping classes but concentrates on the majority of other things that are a must to know before you handle your first claim. You cannot go out in the field and “wing it” and learn as you go when dealing with consumers who have bought a policy expecting “above and beyond” service”.Then, you use the information from that course and on that website to move forward in your search for more certifications and courses.

 

Another very good idea is to get as many licenses from as many different states as you can. That way, if a hail storm hits Georgia, and you have a Non-Resident license for that state, you can be used to work the storm without having to wait for a state declared emergency. You become far more valuable to the claims companies than other adjusters only having one license from their State of Residency. Sircon is a great site for acquiring other licenses for a nominal fee. In most cases, another licensing test is not required.

If possible, pair up with another adjuster you’ve met at your local Claims Association or elsewhere, and mentor with them for a short time. 

 

Immediately after I got my license, Hurricane Ike hit the Gulf coast states. Everyone was in demand. I worked a number of claims for The Mission Group  in Beaumont, Texas. Fortunately, I had a great CEO with a lot of patience. I’d partnered up with somebody who had procured the job, but had about as much experience as I had. Ultimately, the number of mistakes we made was embarrassing. But Mr. Phil Spotts went into the training mode and demonstrated the finest managerial traits I’ve ever witnessed. To this day he’s still a hero of mine! Talk about performing under pressure by training a couple of newbies in the art of adjusting. It was a pleasure to witness, yet embarrassing to be a part of. 

 

Shortly thereafter, I joined a couple of other course-mates and proceeded to take a Two Story/ Steep Roof Rope and Harness course from Kevin Kramer  (k.squared@earthlink.net) in Montgomery, Texas ( great course!). Apparently, for those that have that certification, they’re the first to be called out and the last to leave because they can handle all roofs, not just the easy ones. Kevin also sells an OJT Training Manual that has lots of very good information in it concerning construction, scoping, roof calculations, roof pictorials, estimating interior damage etc etc. It’s a very good manual to have in your library when you’re trying to gain knowledge.

 

Another great manual to have is one published by Richard Beckner . He gives in depth details and step by step instructions in using Xactimate. It truly is geared for the adjuster having problems in using the software. It’s one of the best manuals I have. It can be accessed at: www.learnxactimate.com .

 

After my R & H course we proceeded to Pilot Catastrophe Services Inc. in Grande Prairie, Texas, hoping to acquire a successful evaluation, then 4 days of additional training in Allstate, Integriclaim, and NextGen.

 

 I’ve just completed a Citizens certification class in my search for a job in Daily Adjusting here in Florida, and I have 4 more certifications scheduled.

 

So, in summary, you need to have knowledge that you didn’t pick up on your licensing course. Knowledge like measuring roofs, replacing the shingles with the appropriate amount of waste rounded up to the nearest shingle bundle, replacing or repairing fencing…..depreciated or not depreciated? What are the important things you have to ask the insured when you’re making first contact and arranging an inspection? If you can’t answer these questions, you just need to take the appropriate training. It’s all out there. You just have to access it. 

 

Family members have asked, “Who will I work for?” The answer to me is obvious. I’ll work for anyone wise enough to hire me, because I’m going to be prepared by being ready to go to work, educated enough to do the job, and wise enough to only hand in great claims. I’ll get my local adjuster in town to preview my work if I have to. But my claims will absolutely be as good as anyone’s.  I am not going to be the first one to go home after a storm because of my shoddy work.  And hopefully, I’ll be one of the last ones working the storm!

 

           

Ray Hauser, Port Orange (Daytona Beach), Florida

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To View more information about independent adjuster Ray Hauser, you can view his Linkedin Profile here.

To Join our Claims Industry Group, you can view our Linkedin Profile here.

 

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Ray we thank you for sharing your story and also for your testimonial about the ClaimSmentor online claim mentor group. Deb

 

 


Guest Blog by Dr Michael Birzon, UCF Insurance Department “Tall Tails from Texas” Warning about FL Adjusters false belief TX Licenses waives FL License Exam for Residents

March 10, 2009

I had no idea when I posted the blog on the adjuster license problems in our last blog here:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/03/06/organization-chart-for-the-claims-handling-blame-game-a-humorous-grap-of-where-all-participants-stand-in-this-game-on-claims/

Then Dr Birzon, our regular mentor on Fl licensing issues for ClaimSmentor told me he had also written an article on his warning we told you about in the last blog.  The link above has a link to his bio and insurance website at UCF for FL licensing online.

I knew the problem was very bad, just from what I was receiving on licensing information on adjuster resumes we regularly receive, but his story in the below Ezine article about 60 Allstate Adjusters is even beyond my worst nightmare on how bad the issue was! You can read his entire article on”” Tall Tails from Texas below:

—–Inline Attachment Follows—–

Google Birzon Ezine and you should pull up other articles of interest…thanks!

Dr. Michael Birzon
Florida Insurance University/UCF
(407) 927-1235
(407) 386-6454 FAX

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I am hoping that adjusting firms and adjusters will pass the link to this blog or copy and paste his article link and pass it on to adjusting firms you work with to post the warning on their website. To forward this link- just click on the blog title and it will give you just this blog article you can forward.

We thank everyone for passing this important warning on folks wanting to get licensed to handle claims. Adjusting firms should insist on seeing the license information online for the state where you assigning adjusters as we are seeing


Organization Chart for the Claims Handling Blame Game- A Humorous Graph -A Serious Look at Claim Bad Faith Issues

March 6, 2009

Insurance Company – Adjusting Firms- Claim Staff -Reinspectors -Independents  – Public Adjusters
Claim Litigation  Attorneys
 
→   →   (Everyone to R)       ←     ↓        ↑  →                           ←   ↓   →                                 ← (all 3)  →                                                 ← (all 4)
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What a mess  that makes no sense and it isn’t humorous at all. This is a huge insurance consumer issue. Just check out the Bad Faith organization or NAIC (National Association of Insurance Commissioners) for all kinds of information and surveys on claims handling. The link I put to NAIC is their 2009 Report on the Top Complaints by insurance consumers. You can sort by carrier, by type of complaint, by state I think, and much more!
 
When are we also going to get Insurance Departments on board to help improve this by doing the following things I’ve discussed in this blog before:
 
1) Require Insurance companies to report to all state insurance departments consumer links where they provide complaint information for carriers to provide information on adjusting firms that have been dismissed by a carrier for trends of bad faith claim handling issues. Presently, I know of no place when independent adjusters can validly find this information until it is too late. Dismiised firms are not required to be reported (if they are I am not aware of it) so they just move on to solicit new carriers so even more insurance consumers continue to be harmed by firms with bad consumer servicing problems.
 
2) I believe insurance companies require liability and errors and omissions information from adjusting firms before they use them. Are there any reporting requirements by state insurance regulators on claims ratios on E and O policies for adjusting firms or independent or public adjusters so 1) policyholders don’t hire a PA who has a large complaint ratio 2) so adjusting firms have a source to know (other than just checking regulator sites to be sure an adjusters license is still active), and so adjusters can have a valid source to see the complaint ratio of an adjusting firm so they can make a good decision about which adjusting firm they wish to deploy with so they don’t get hooked up with a firm that might be unprofessional?
 
3) Insurance Regulators should require that adjusting firms be required to disclose the name of the owner and the name of any key executives they may have on the payroll and post them on their website.  Often if an adjusting firm develops a bad reputation with adjusters or carriers, they just either a) move to another state so carriers and adjusters cannot find bad information about them at insurance department licensing sites that allow you to research licenses or b) the adjusting firm owners or key executives just change the name of the adjusting firm so adjusters don’t know who they are.
 
4) Another thing that concerns me when trying to find good adjusting firms for newly licensed adjuster recommendations , when asked by ClaimSmentor members , is that so many of the adjusting firms do not list one thing on their ABOUT pages about who the key owners are. I tell them just to go to http://www.whois.net/ but this only tells you when a website domain was open and the contact name and information for the person who opened the site. Sometimes the only results you get there are to the website company they opened the site with but it is one source of information you might try.
 
5) Adjusting firms should be required to post links on all of their websites such as Department of Insurance Consumer Complaint contact information AND information for independent  adjusters as to where they can report violations of adjusting firm contracts with independents and adjuster non- payment of fee bill complaints. If you don’t think there is a need, just check out this site that opened post Katrina and when overloaded by complaints of non payment to adjusters, their system crashed many many times : www.professionalfeecollection.com (site was opened post Katrina and we have no idea what happened to this agency and it’s alliance of attorneys working proactively to collect unpaid independent adjusting firm fees. We know they were overwhelmed by the claim files faxed in to them and the thousands of adjusters attempting to utilize their services. It was run by a Terry Bagsby out of TX. The interesting thing was that these adjusters were all complaining about the same continuous group of adjusting firms based on discussions I had with him in 05/06.
 
6) Adjusting firms should be required by State Insurance Regulators to not only have a contract for independent insurance adjusters but they should be required to have two signed originals so one can be given to the independent adjusting firm and one can be given to the adjuster. I cannot even begin to tell you how many new adjusters have been frankly taken advantage of either not being given a copy of the contract or no contract at all.
 
We wrote in our blog done a few years back called “Splish Splash don’t go taking a bath” on this topic.(See link at bottom of this blog) I always teach new adjusters in our Fundamentals class not to deploy without seeing the contract and making sure they agree to the terms, not to sign blank forms, to watch out for Non-Compete terms, to make sure they know what the fee split is with the adjusting firm (how much they keep of the fee schedule and how much you get based on a percentage fee split) or what your daily rate is if you are getting paid a daily rate how much it is and what your fee split.
 
There is much more information in the blog I wrote linked to above. The very best advice that I would give you is to see your personal attorney about E & O insurance coverage information in the contract to be sure YOU are protected and to be sure that you are not signing something you shouldn’t be signing.
 
7) Insurance regulators need to regulate a) the length of time a carrier has to pay independent adjusting firms and TPA’s who process their claims, the time an adjusting firm has to pay the independents, holdback percentage provisions in contracts and hefty fines for those adjusting firms not paying them within a regulated time).
 
8   ) Insurance Regulators must begin setting regulations for insurance carriers as to what claim handling fines a carrier can pass on and require of  independent adjusting firms and adjusters.
 
They have gotten totally out of control on the RFP requirements I have seen such as Citizens of FL 2007 RFP 08-0016 or 07-0003 with fines as much as 1,000 per vioation. Is what developed after these fines starting being imposed in RFP’s is that independent contracts started transferring these fines on to adjusters in contracts without even specifying what these fines were.
 
9 ) Insurance regulators have got to put a stop to the erroneous information being advertised about the TEXAS adjuster’s license for independent adjusters. Just take a look at the many classifieds telling those interested in a claims career that the TX license with give them licensing in any where from 25-32 states.
 
This is inaccurate as the adjuster still has to fill out applications, finger prints and pay licensing fees for those non resident licenses. Dr Birzon at the University of Central Florida’s Insurance licensing online program has been forced to post a warning such as this on their website link (see News flash column on left of that link) because so many residents of FL had taken TX licensing classes thinking that they were waived from taking the FL Resident adjusters license.
 
I regularly receive resumes from adjusters who are permanent residents of FL that is all that I see in the licensing information of their resume is their TX license info. Dr Birzon has been so helpful answering questions on ClaimSmentor on licensing issues and even helped out a few of our adjusters who were in non compliance on CE’s and had to retake Fl license requirements again so we referred them to his online FL licensing program which the state regulators approved as a means of getting your FL license and bypassing the FL adjusters exam. These adjusters who were working out of a state on a catastrophe assignment could meet the FL Department of Insurance requirement they sit for the exam again by taking Dr Birzon’s online class at night and still service claims assigned to them out of state.
 
10 ) Insurance regulators need to require that any training firm producing adjuster 
training classes be approved by the state department of insurance to meet minimum claims experience requirements ,which I would insist included experience in claims management, as well as professional insurance education requirements that are recognized in the insurance industy such as AIC (Associates in Claims) and/or CPCU course through AICPCU. I have completed IIA, AIC, and 9 sections of CPCU with only one left to go (the much dreaded Accounting session). I cannot tell you strongly enough how much I recommend these courses  for independents as well.
 
11 ) While the insurance regulators do not control which independent firms a carrier uses, they should at minimum require that adjusting firms and TPA’s require some kind of screening. The one I prefer the most is the membership requirements at the National Association of Insurance Adjusters which is an association of independent adjusting firms who have had to go through substantial financial screening and other membership criteria you can view here.
 
12 ) There are good procedures established by the insurance regulators, emergency management, and state governors for adjusters coming in from out of state. They are called emergency adjuster regulations.
 
In a new trend the large adjusting firms are now requiring of independent adjusters, they are requiring that adjusters obtain non-resident licenses in all coastal states and those like Oklahoma  and Minnesota that have regular windstorms. There are valid reasons because carriers and independent firms cannot activate non resident adjusters who do not hold a non resident license in the state of a storm until the governor announces that by his order at the time of an emergency that independent adjusters are allowed in the state to work claims on an emergency license. 
 
If an adjuster secures a non-resident license in all the states a carrier MIGHT deploy them, they can stay longer because emergency licenses are temporary in nature and only allow adjusters to work a storm designated a catastrophe by the governor. Carriers also do not use their national catastrophe teams if there isn’t enough volume in a given state although I’ve read about alot of improvements on this. This is usually do to the fact that they have to bill the region where they deploy the adjusters for their services. Can we do something about this? It appears to me to be the only way carriers and adjusters can deploy adjusters and get around the governors emergency disaster authority. It has created a huge financial burden on independents and on CE reporting requirements when they should be concentrating on servicing insurance consumers. It is also creating a “dumbing down” of independent adjusters that can be used as we often see less experienced independent adjusters deployed because the experienced adjusters tend to leary of jumping through the huge volume of hoops and know that when the big one hits they will be deployed when carriers through out all pre-storm requirements.
 
I regularly refer new independent adjusters to these firms meeting the NAIIA criteria as hopefully a safety net for them when finding reputable firms. See their membership directory here. While I cannot guarantee it will, I would think that it would atleast provide a place to start when considering who is your “A” list of adjusting firms you will work for. How about for carrier independent staffing needs when their core adjusting firms “run out “of  core adjusters (their A team of who they will first deploy based on experience and certifications and licensing”.
 
I do know some excellent firms that might not yet meet all of the NAIIA membership criteria who are trying to do the right thing. Several that come to mind as I have gotten to know their owners through years of membership at ClaimSmentor or through the staffing side of my operation are CSP claims (owners are retired carrier management), Legacy Claims (the one owned by the Ellis’s), and Action Catastrophe Claims. I do not post those here lightly as I have spent almost four years now getting to know them and I listen intently to what experienced adjusters working for them have shared with me, I’ve watched their adjuster training programs, and I’ve heard great reports on their CMS Claim Management systems and payment records with adjusters who complied with file requirements.
 
I know of very very few independent adjusting firms run by owners or managers who have these course certfications. One of my clients who feels as strongly about this is Dennis Martin, CPCU  who runs the FL Division and catastrophe division  of William Kramer and Associates. He is a joy to work with since he understands the issues facing our claim industry , the Florida insurance crisis , and knows what happens when an adjusting firm doesn’t properly manage claims and claims adjusters and CONTROL compliance with file requirements. This is especially important with their primary concentration on commercial claims such as very large Condominum Claim Associations.
 
We co -authored an article for Claims Magazine as the featured story titled “ A Box of Chocolates” in 2008 about condo claims handling. We both can’t thank Eric Gilkey, Editor of Claims Magazine for his skills and patience working with us as neither of us had significant experience in writing an article)!
 
                                                                                                    Some Things to Ponder
This is also another thing that inquiring minds want to know!  If a file is approved first by an independent adjusting firm manager and sent on to the carrier management for approval and they approve the file and pay the claim based on their review how can they possibly go back and fine an adjusting firm a year later when their auditors catch the mistake. I know of a few firms this has happened to. Where are the insurance regulations on this?
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Why do carriers always tell our members and my staffing firm that they don’t want to consider very good experienced catastrophe adjusters for staff positions when they meet all other qualifications such as a four year degree, insurance continuing education requirements,etc? I was astonished over the past four years to receive staffing requests from 3 major carriers that said the following ” we need adjusters but we can’t get approval in our budgets to use a staffing firm. Will you send them out free to your rosters? ” You’ve got to be joking! Take the resources I have developed over 4 years of staffing and building contacts and mass emailing for them free? I did post their notices in our Career Forum where we do post jobs such as these that we come across but I sure wasn’t servicing them free. Also, while I can understand that they think cat adjusters will jump as soon as a major storm hits, don’t tell us that your staff adjusters do not do so as well. What is your turn over rate? The only thing that keeps staff adjusters on your employment lists is the fact you often offer benefits such as health but adjusting firms are
getting just as savvy in some cases and they often get employment applications from your staff adjusters just like my firm does.
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Last but not list in the things to ponder list is the failure of carriers to put a stop to “hand me down” claims. Almost every issue of non-payment to new independent adjusters has come through a 2nd or more tier adjusting firm subcontracting claims out to another adjusting firm when they run out of adjusters. Often , I doubt the carriers even know about it. When the unpaid adjusters contact the carrier, they are often told “sorry….we don’t have a contract with that adjusting firm”…well dang….I guess the first tier firm made a sidetrack agreement with the 2nd tier firm leaving the independent adjusters to hang out to dry. I’m referring to adjusters who have a contract with firm 2 or on down the line but they have no contract with the adjusting firm who had the contract with the carrier. During the 04/05 season when the FL Dept of Insurance set deadlines with HUGE fines, I saw many a carriers hurt when the primary adjusting firms couldn’t account for claim file status. I never even knew this went on until I transferred to the independent claims industry. I had one firm call me and say “and we have the 1st tier contract with the carrier” on this one. Maybe I am wrong and this is a regular practice, but I can tell you the majority of calls my staffing firm received on non-payment issues when they were looking for a new assignment because they weren’t getting paid was from 2nd or more  hand me down claim adjusting firms. I simply think the practice should be forbidden.
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There are four ways I can think of to add these regulations which are long overdue. Not being an insurance regulator, but someone with a huge interest in protecting independent adjusting firms and independent adjusters to preserve our important service to the claims industry:
 
1) Click on the link here to all insurance departments and print out a copy of this blog (just click on the blog title and it will open up just this blog versus reviewing a string of our blogs) and send a copy to either your state insurance department or to any insurance departments where you have worked assignments and/or are licensed. If you fear for your career in claims, just print it out and mail it in and don’t sign your name. If they get flooded with enough copies of this blog, maybe they will listen.
 
2) Print and send a copy to the NAIC who is responsible for cancelling the recommendations for National Licensing. Again, don’t sign it if you don’t want to. Volumes of copies of this might help. The link to the blog on this act is included at the bottom of this blog entry.
 
3) Insurance regulators who are responsible for claim handling regulations can add requirements such as these to their Good Faith claim handling regulations and licensing requirements for independent adjusters and adjusting firm licensing requirements.
 
4) How about Insurance Regulators developing a Code of Conduct form for independent adjusting firms (similar to what carriers require independent adjusting firms and adjusters are required to sign). Look at the NAIC Code of Conduct they require their member adjusting firms comply with
 
There are so many possibilities that can be done to improve the industry, reduce insurance consumer complaints, to reduce the number of consumers who have to resort to use of public adjusters thus reducing their insurance indemnification dollars, and to reduce the ever growing field of claim litigation. It is worse now than I have ever seen in over 30 years in the insurance industry.
 
Which claim career field is really responsible for the problems in our industry? Here’s a complex self assessment test. Is all it takes is four questions:
 
1) Who issues an insurance policy with insurance consumers with obligations required of both insurers and insureds? (Key to answer you will find the answer in column 1)
2) Who has to take instructions from who? (Key to answer- see column 2, 3, 4  as they answer to #1)
 
3) Who contributes to the training issues for the claim industry? See columns 5,4,3,2, and 1
 
4) Are public adjusters and consumer advocate attorneys the only driving force behind the increase in claim litigation? Yes in some instances they are but could they be successful in winning claim litigation cases by the hundreds if they weren’t finding examples of bad faith across the board- see 1, 2, 3, and 4 in the graph).  I don’t think  they are the only contributors of these huge costs which are being passed on to insurance consumers when carriers have to consider defense litigation costs when rates are determined by insurance companies.
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So why are we all mixed up and playing the blame game? This is such a goofy game not befitting of an industry that has such an important place in the lives of  every person in America that has been going on as long as I’ve had a career in claims. Here’s how the game works:
 
Step 1 ) Insurance Companies (common to all major insurers) use independent adjusters when a major storm such as Hurricane Katrina and Ike
 
Step 2) Insurance Companies provide training before the storm only to independent adjusters with atleast 2 years experience and to their staff claim departments UNTIL the big one hits
 
Step 3) Carrier Auditing Departments, Claim Examiners and Managers.  and Reinspectors start rejecting files because they don’t provide training or enough information to adjusters. It is provided during a carrier certification class which is usually a one day training session put on by CARRIERS through ADJUSTING FIRMS THEY SELECT or at a one day catastrophe induction center where they do present a good outline of file handling guidelines if you are experienced enough to just make exception to general claim handling instructions you already know
 
Step 4) Newly licensed adjusters are activated to handle claims when carriers lower their 2 and 3 year experience requirements when they THINK they have run out of adjusters based on information from the pre-selected adjusting firms who may service there claims. ***Let me point out here it is like a “where is Waldo” game for independent adjusters entering the industry to find out who is servicing the claims because the majority of CARRIERS provide no information on their website about which firms are handling their claims (God forbid someone might consider them “employees versus independents). See our prior blogs on the cycle
 
Step 5) Don’t overlook the fact that the file requirements and claims guidelines are changed by CARRIERS almost daily when on storm. Even if an adjuster’s file meets file requirements one day, by the time it make’s it through the claims management cycle (Independent or staff adjuster →Claim Examiner or Claim Manager→Insurance Company who approves claim settlement payment and settles claim with insured (often with in office claim trainees who have never handled a field inspection or an inoffice claim operation TEAM so the insured can get bounced around and never talk to the adjuster who actually inspected their claim?
 
Step 6) Who pulls the authority from most independents which takes away great customer service of explaining their itemized estimate to the insured in person while they are out there …see column one. This also applies to carriers who have pulled field adjusters from handling contents claims and additional living expenses so the insured once again has to deal with multiple adjusters (field and in office) rather than having the personal claim service they desire from one adjuster?
 
Step 7) Carriers then blame everyone in column 2, 3, 4, and 5 for causing poor claim survey results and swears to never use much needed independents so experienced independents leave the claim industry as they have no way to support their families.
 
Step 8. ) A major catastrophe such as Ike and Katrina hit and independent adjusting firms are asked to deploy again to assist storm insurance consumers who have no idea what changes have taken place at the carrier’s regarding claim handling standards as the Carriers in Column 1 do not communicate with individual adjusters or hold yearly claim conferences updating them on the hot topics they have been dealing with while independents were at home trying to support their families. Why don’t they have newsletters for independents (refer to comment above on employee/independent issues). No instead they insist they will stop using independents again.
 
Step 9 ) Return to Step 1 and the cycle we regularly experience starts once again.
For two examples of the blame game see the final report of the Citizens  FL Task Force on Claim handling where they submitted their findings to the Citizens Board of Directors blaming both independents and public adjusters for reopen claim issues. I don’t recall seeing where any responsibility was accepted by this now largest insurer in FL except possibly understaffing with field adjusters but they are moving in the right direction training staff and Independents deployed pre-storm and with face to face meeting requirements that they are visiting unannounced to be sure the adjusters are being taught their claim handling expectations and not just glossed over.
 
See also this news article I posted recently where General Manager, Jim Oliver, of the Texas Windpool partially puts the blame on inexperienced adjusters. This is very exasperating to me when I am going on my fourth year of searching for all carrier claim certification classes for members of ClaimSmentor. I can rarely find them except by the few adjusting firms posting in classifieds which are cost prohibitive to most firms when they haven’t gotten many carrier assignments such as in 2006 and 2007. Carriers have staffed up with employed staff adjusters due to their erroneous decisions in the steps above instead of looking SQUARELY in the eyes of their claim training operations, their current trend to leave the responsibility of deployment of independent adjustering firms instead of the carrier maintaining control (again employee vs independent issues).
 
Should anyone question my dedication to keeping independent adjusters informed for the right reasons…it took me 8 hours of volunteer time to produce this one blog entry to provide resources and information for you.  I had no clue as all of our resources were internally generated as claim staff employees.
 
It has been a very long four years studying the independent insurance adjuster industry and learning that while  I had managed them for years that I knew nothing about what went on before they deployed with us. It has been a major eye opener which I openly share with those in our field who need to get caught up to speed immediately in their decisions on entering the independent field and once they confirm that decision learning the professional way to perform their duties. **Update 3/7/09: You can follow this blog through RSS feeds as long as you are not placing it on a site that has banner ad sales or revenue generated through google ads (exception CADO who also spends untold hours volunteering his time for his site). I am getting referrals to this site from Blog Colony which I still have to research which are new this week and have another site copying my links on right column on their website. I am taking proactive action through ICAN  and this wordpress administration who controls websites so be forewarned if you want to remove them if you are using a link to this site to generate revenue for yours. All independent adjusting firms or claim groups are free to put up a blog roll on this such as the one CADO (www.catadjuster.org) has on their blog page in bottom left corner. WordPress does NOT allow banners or search engine ads at this location so I will be proactive with them to shut your feed to this blog if you are using it for such purposes which we can see on our administation dashboard.
**************
I welcome any volunteers who want to edit my blog entries to correct mistakes made. I was always taught by my mentor , my dad, not to present a problem without a solution….smile. If you have the solution for my lack of social networking editorial skills I welcome your help in this additional e-mentoring project.
 
For other great resource links, articles, and claims news I highly recommend Roy Cupps CADO  site at www.Catadjuster.org which has operated atleast 10 years. His article section, news section, employer rating section, adjuster resume data base, and so much more . The archived forums provide a wealth of information about the independent opinions. We formed ClaimSmentor with Roy Cupps blessing initially in those forums but took quite a bit of harassment from a few bad apples who felt we were taking away their job opportunites so we moved the site to a private site at www.ClaimSmentor.com. I have nothing but the very highest regard for Roy Cupps and the resource links he keeps updating on his site.
 
Here are links to all prior blogs we have written in our archives since we began this service in July 2007 that discuss these issues on emergency licensing, carrier’s deploying adjusters, claim training, insurance regulations, and all other topics we’ve discussed in today’s current blog for a more thorough understanding of the changes needed :
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/03/06/just-one-claimsmentor-moment-2-twia-adjusters-blog-on-ike-claim-handling-issues/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/02/27/adjuster-overtime-issues-supplemental-info-from-none-other-than-attorney-gloria-allreds-current-news-letter/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/02/26/compare-twia-manager-jim-olivers-comments-about-a-major-galveston-storm-608-to-209-statement-on-ike-claims-part-i-of-ii/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/02/23/branch-consultants-whistleblower-case-reinstated-appeal-court-decision-february-2009also-links-to-info-on-the-rigsby-whistleblower-cases/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/02/19/citizens-of-fl-board-approves-selection-of-30-selected-adjusting-firms-see-list-here-with-websites/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/02/19/citizens-of-fl-board-approves-selection-of-30-selected-adjusting-firms-see-list-here-with-websites/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/02/14/twia-texas-windpool-offers-two-adjuster-certification-workshops-in-march-and-april-2009/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/02/13/independent-adjusters-participant-in-our-poll-on-carrier-certification-exams/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/02/13/have-license-ready-to-go-not-so-quick-take-this-self-assessment-test/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/02/05/have-you-registered-for-your-2009-nfip-adjuster-certification-class/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/02/05/2509-updates-on-the-state-farm-announcement-in-fl/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/02/03/we-are-back-next-50-hour-online-fundamentals-of-claims-class-begins-march-2-2009/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/10/08/2008-claims-magazine-claims-salary-survey-is-up-in-the-october-2008-issue/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/09/20/new-source-for-temporary-housing-in-houston-tx-area-for-adjusters-and-insured-additional-living-expense-temporary-housing-part-ii/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/09/17/independent-agents-rank-claim-service-as-top-measurement-of-carrier-performance-part-ii-of-claim-and-agency-relationships-can-make-or-break-an-adjuster/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/09/03/preliminary-damage-statistics-from-hurricane-gustav-updates-on-temporary-housing-in-gustav-damage-territories/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/08/26/hurricane-gustav-expected-to-be-major-emergency-tx-and-la-license-links-claim-statistics-for-ts-fay-eduardo-dolly/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/08/21/fl-emergency-adjuster-regulations-for-tropical-storm-fay/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/08/26/hurricane-gustav-expected-to-be-major-emergency-tx-and-la-license-links-claim-statistics-for-ts-fay-eduardo-dolly/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/08/07/ms-ag-hood-and-state-farm-reach-agreement-on-katrina-disputes-wednesday-86/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/08/05/citizens-of-fl-cancels-rfp-for-independent-adjusters-yet-another-time-in-2008-rebid-now-times-4/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/07/23/hurricane-dolly-makes-landfall-in-texas-checking-availability-for-rosters/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/06/26/nationwide-insurance-proposes-one-policy-covering-wind-and-flood-coverage/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/06/02/auto-adjuster-claim-training-updates/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/05/29/what-role-are-rising-gas-prices-going-to-play-in-your-deployment-decisions-for-hurricane-season-2008-carriers-and-adjusting-firms-should-meet-the-need/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/05/23/colorado-hail-tornado-of-may-22-2008-updated-damage-reports/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/05/19/concerned-regarding-adjuster-fee-schedules-for-citizens-of-fl/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/05/14/citizens-of-fl-changes-independent-training-requirements-for-2008/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/05/01/insurance-carrier-claim-certifications-where-do-you-test-for-them-much-improvement-needed-in-the-process-of-certifying-independent-adjusters/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/04/30/va-tornado-damage-the-carrier-claim-numbers-are-coming-in/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/04/28/top-blogs-of-interest-to-new-adjusters-july-2007-april-2008/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/04/18/supplemental-request-41808-for-tx-licensednationwide-certified-adjusters/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/04/11/immediate-need-for-experienced-adjusters-tx-license-for-storm-claims/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/04/10/overhead-and-profit-claim-settlement-issues-under-attack-in-3-ongoing-cases/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/04/09/state-farm-seeks-dismissal-on-rigsby-false-claim-actklg-update-levee-break-sher-decision-including-overhead-and-profit-issues/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/04/08/fifth-circuit-appeal-opinion-overturns-punitive-damages-in-broussard-vs-state-farm/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/04/07/allstate-releases-mckinsey-documents/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/04/02/adjusters-read-about-class-action-lawsuit-in-ok-on-overhead-and-profit-issues/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/03/29/cori-rigsby-january-2008-deposition-hoped-to-remain-anonymous-lets-compare/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/03/28/branch-consultants-whistleblower-case-appeal-filed-on-the-dismissed-case/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/03/06/rigsby-whistleblower-rico-case-motion-to-dismiss-3-of-insurance-carriers-to-focus-on-state-farm/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/03/06/national-association-of-catastrophe-adjusters-membership-drive-to-31508/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/02/23/state-farm-vs-hood-part-iii-an-interesting-news-alert-today/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/02/21/60-earthquake-rocks-nv-ut-parts-of-ca-22108-adjuster-information/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/02/08/errors-and-omissions-coverage-guest-bloggers-dale-moore-client-relations-director-for-cplic/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/02/06/storms-in-tn-ky-ak-al-in-mo-ms-of-2508-adjuster-information-on-emergency-licensing-and-damage/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/02/05/luckwhere-preparation-meets-opportunity-published-208-in-claims-education-magazine/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/01/11/update-on-the-rigsby-ea-renfroe-whistleblower-case-will-the-klg-get-dismissed-on-cases/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/01/10/do-you-really-know-what-your-errors-and-omissions-coverage-covers/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/01/09/should-your-adjusting-firm-or-carrier-be-blogging/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/12/18/renfroes-deposition-in-the-rigsby-whistleblower-case-interesting-look-into-their-thoughts-on-the-case/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/12/13/ok-declares-state-of-emergency-allowing-emergency-adjuster-licenses-link-for-application/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/11/20/major-changes-in-the-way-carriers-recruit-and-train-adjustersis-there-really-a-lack-of-available-adjusters/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/11/14/tomorrow-is-postmark-deadline-to-get-applications-in-to-join-naca-national-assn-of-catastrophe-adjusters/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/10/25/what-can-adjusters-learn-from-the-2003-cedar-fire-regarding-litigation-and-complaints-on-claims-from-ca-wildfires-blog-4-ca-wildfires/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/09/29/claim-career-coachingconsultant-services-for-new-adjusters/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/09/27/independent-adjuster-vs-employee/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/09/24/insurance-adjuster-overtime-pay-issues-and-complaints-in-the-news/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/09/21/valued-policy-law-in-florida-thrown-out-update-on-mierwza-safety-concerns-part-2fl-insurance-crisis-update-go-jeb/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/09/14/field-adjuster-safety-concerns-be-careful-remembering-katie-froeschle-of-tampa-fl/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/09/13/humberto-makes-landfall-as-category-1-hurricane-damage-links-and-stats-and-adjuster-licenses/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/09/12/commitment-part-2-standby-calls-what-should-i-do-how-are-cat-codes-determined/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/09/12/tropical-depressions-8-and-9-humberto-and-ingrid-standby-discussion-commitment-discussion-continued/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/09/10/the-big-c-commitment-problems-with-independent-adjuster-relationships-advice-by-guest-blogger-rocke-baker/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/09/08/ts-gabrielle-east-coast-windpool-and-emergency-licensing-information/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/08/30/adjustin-to-adjusting-guest-blogger-linda-goodson-first-storm-duty-was-katrina/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/08/23/whistleblower-cases-and-your-e-and-o-coverage-part-2/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/08/12/splish-splash-dont-go-takin-a-bath-understanding-independent-firm-contracts/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/07/31/naic-model-independent-adjusters-licensing-act-cancelledand-changes-in-nm-nc-and-tx-licensing/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/07/30/who-moved-my-claims-cheesedealing-with-change-in-the-insurance-adjusting-community/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/07/27/claim-career-information-the-pros-and-cons-of-going-staff-adjuster-versus-independent-adjuster/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/07/26/catastrophe-adjuster-resumes-the-requirements-to-get-noticed-do-differ/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/07/26/most-commonly-asked-question-is-how-much-income-can-i-make-as-an-adjuster/
 
 

March 1, 2009 Announcement to ClaimSmentor and Dimechimes Claim Staffing Roster members- Change in Claim Industry Services

March 2, 2009

 

 

To: All ClaimSmentor Participants/Dimechimes Claim Staffing Roster Members by email
Re: Announcement on Claim Community Services

We would like to announce effective on March 1, 2009 that our staffing firm and
training services will be transitioning our services to 100% Claim Education and
Claim Training services through the following website locations:

The following three sites allow you different forms for your claim career professional
development based on your preferred preference for forums or online education
needs:

1) Our main website for our clearing house to our training information on different sites is  Dimechimes Claims Staffing and Claim Training . We offer Claims Education services, support for professional training sources in the claims industry, Claim Career Coaching for new adjusters who wish individual counseling advice, Resume Preparation Services for Adjusters, Mock Interview preparation for adjusters preparing for their first insurance claims interview for staff  adjuster positions or independent daily adjuster opportunities.

This is also our site for contact for claim staffing and claim recruiting needs by Independent adjusting firms and insurance carriers.

Our goal is progressive growth as an information highway to all available professional sources of training both online and in the field.

2 ) Dimechimes ClaimSmentor Adjuster Information Blog open to the public. This was opened in July 2007 for the many in the claims industry who do not enjoy membership in website forums and wish to retain their privacy while at the same time enjoy updates on hot topics in the claims industry while also locating valuable training sources.

3) We offer ClaimSmentor Forums, Discussion groups, field training study groups, information for trainees to network with experienced adjusters. Links to all opportunities we know about for carrier certification requirements, upcoming adjusting firm seminars,
information about 100% of the online information we can find for online training opportunities for new and experienced adjusters,adjuster licensing information and much more.

Anyone that is a member of our  rosters is welcome to join  us at  ClaimSmentor without the need to provide other registration documents. Is all you need to do is reply to this email with your full name, city, and state and
we will check this information against our rosters and confirm membership by notifying you by email within 10 days of  receipt of your email what your login id and a temporary password to participate there will be.

We  provides opportunities for adjusters, adjusting firms, claim service vendors,  lawyers in the insurance industry, lawyers who handle and understand independent contractor issues , CPA’s that adjuster understand adjuster issues regarding per diem, working out of state and other, and adjusting firm adminstrative members to join us  at ClaimSmentor and network among our members. We are now in our fourth year of operation with just over 1,000 members to include 66 adjusting firm owners and managers, claim industry service vendors, software vendors of a professional nature-direct from the software vendors certified by the software developer themselves, and much more.

Our growth has been progressive and requires verification of id of all members and use of real names as we wish to maintain a postive professional source for those in the claims community. This transition will now allow  career websites with claim job posting advertisement such as www.greatinsurancejobs.com (who by the way has always been mentor friendly notifying us of Claim Career Fairs annually) and claim staffing firms and recruiters to join the ClaimSmentor online e-mentoring group to participate to locate outstanding claim candidates, purchase banner ads to their firm websites, and for a very reasonable annual cost included with the purchase of a banner ad to download resumes from our participants. The same applies to all insurance company HR departments. Contact us at Debbie@Dimechimes.com for information on the cost of banner ads so you can join and utilize our services. There is no charge to join ClaimSmentor for adjusters.

Our closed forum at ClaimSmentor requiring login id allows members to ask questions as trainees hassle free in a major e-mentoring effort to cultivate improved independent adjuster reputations with insurance companies and with policyholders nationwide
as they process claims for those suffering a major crisis in their lives.

* Just do a web search on your name or login id if you participate on blogs or forums open to the public and you would be astonished about the information a potential employer could use against you when you are under consideration for a staff or independent position.

All registrants must register in their real name and claims or bar information is required to verify as well as a work summary or resume to verify your relationship to staff and independent adjusting insurance claims. The site remains closed to public adjusters and public adjusting firms.

There is NO charge to join at this time (exception is Claim Recruiters, Insurance Recruiters, Insurance Staffing Firms, and Insurance Job Posting Sites). They may join our site to post their jobs and to download resumes all included in the cost of their banner ad purchase. The same applies to Insurance Companies who are seeking an excellent  supplemental pool of quality candidates.

 There are minimal charges should you (newly licensed adjusters) wish to participate in our online live claim classes such as our 50 Hour Fundamentals of Property adjusting class which addresses many basic essentials not covered per our participants in basic estimating and scoping classes. 

As we will now have much more time to dedicate our time as an information highway for training opportunities and for hot topics the claim industry faces, we will be actively seeking those with professional credentials to provide Guest
Blog entries for our Adjuster Information blog, to share their job opportunities for trainees and experienced adjusters, and participation in our ClaimSmentor e-mentor program.

Not only will we have this information through our forums live online but beginning April 2009 we will host group networking opportunities available to all adjusting firms and adjusters who are members of ClaimSmentor through volunteer efforts of our members participating in this e-mentor program. Adjusters on our Dimechimes Claim Staffing Rosters who chose to join us will also be able to attend as they would have transitioned to our ClaimSmentor site.

Why are we finalizing this transition?

.First and foremost is our passion for claims education to improve the image of
independent adjusters who service  insurance company claims. Carriers are
limited in understanding our industry by the adjusting firms who service their
claims. We would like to promote information from the adjusters in the claims adjusting community for a better understanding of independent adjuster information needs while at the same time refrainng from a negative environment via public posting sites creating the wrong impression of independent claims members. The public forums do provide a valuable service to our industry providing important industry resource links and articles. I am just not fond of public posting by adjusters in forums as it could create a problem for them when they are under consideration for a job opportunity.

.To enhance professionalism in the independent adjuster/ staff adjuster relationships 

. I can not bear to get one more fearful call from even experienced adjusters hammered for file handling stats while they are living out of their car with no power, showers, housing, cash or food, high speed internet to upload estimates and photos with no empathy from the carriers in many cases for the independent adjuster plight in the first wave of a hurricane. Independent adjusters are not provided housing . The larger adjusting firms may have the resources to reserve an initial block of rooms where their managers are staying but that does not happen for the majority of adjusters deployed. Carrier staff adjusters have housing locations found for them by the carriers with all expenses paid.  The difficulty of this situation is that independent adjusters have no idea how long they will be deployed on an assignment so they really cannot afford to sign rental leases at storm locations. See our posts n Temporary Housing options not only for independent adjusters but for policyholders as well.

.We work hard to create reality training by hosting a mock disaster training for new adjusters reviewing carrier reporting requirements, Dept of Ins Complaints, Consumer Complaints, reality training about assignment organization, ethical consideration for proper file documentation and much more. We prefer to educate adjusters rather than have them go out unprepared in so many cases during Katrina and Ike. There are so many current  safety issues with adjusters under those circumstances.s

. There are not alot of great options for independent adjusting firms to post for job opportunities especially on insurance industry job boards when they have catastrophe needs. The prices for advertisement is cost prohibitive when the independent adjusting firms have no guarantee from a carrier they will even get assignments. Secondly, the insurance recruiting industry normally charges up to a 33% first annual salary distribution for their fee per individual. Just check through the closed and archived purchasing documents at Citizens of FL or research this on the web. That does not work for the hundreds of catastrophe adjusting firms. They may only need these adjusters for a very limited time (carrier determines length and number of assignments) and they need a place where they can post one ad at a reasonable price for their nationwide storm assignments. Very few job sites allow for nationwide posting of jobs even though they are a good source by a candidate searching “all jobs”. We do not charge ANYTHING for job postings in the Career Forum to those recruiters and carriers purchasing an annual banner ad which is less than the cost to post 5 jobs on most job posting sites.

.To cultivate prepared claim trainees for insurance carrier staff opportunities
as well as for those newly licensed adjusters who prefer independent adjusting
opportunities and just do not know what is required beyond licensing.

.To encourage adjusting firms and carriers to do what makes sense regarding carrier certifications. I have had to turn down adjusters with 10 and 20 years adjusting both daily (non catastrophe claims) and catastrophe (known as a multi line adjuster) who were prohibited from deploying because the CARRIER was not flexible when their experience certainly could have substituted from nothing much more than an estimating test or property issues. An adjuster with that much time in the field certainly would have references who could verify the quality of their prior claim handling abilities. Look at our recent poll on carrier certifications and see what adjusters had to say that are participating on the poll. I’ll let it continue to run continuously through March.

.Claim litigation appears to be ever increasing post Katrina and post Ike
storms with a major complaint being that there were unfair claim practices in our industry and my belief that those newly licensed adjusters nationwide have no perception of  what additional training is required. I am especially concerned that they do not understand coverage issues, proper handling of insurance department complaints, and complaint resolution issues. Several of the windpools are now requiring the independents provide their own E & O and their contracts require that independent firms and independents respond to complaints without the assistance of the carrier. That was probably the final straw for me regarding staffing. Both the Citizens RFP and TWIA it is my understanding both require this. You can view the Citizens RFP to view the hold harmless agreements and information on lawsuits. You can check with TWIA for information inquiring about this. Most importantly run to an Errors and Omissions carrier and protect yourself as recommended in the Q & A  blog on here where www.CPLIC.net recommended adjusters definitely carry their own policy. Call Michael Hale there who is also a ClaimSmentor member and he can answer your questions.

You say you have E and O coverage through your adjusting firm? That may have been fine in the past and it may still be today but do not rely on that without confirming this with your attorney or their E and O provider.  Don’t take a chance it is better to be safe and protected versus sorry. Make sure to verify first if your policy provides defense costs if you are named in a suit and also if attorney fees reduce the policy limits or if they are even covered. Again refer to our blog you can find in the right hand column the Categories tab and search for information there.

What I have learned through 2 years presenting classes from trainees would amaze you.

I had no idea of the misconceptions they were learning from others even with a staff management background and claim career of 28 years.

We hope to improve their understanding of our industry BEFORE they go out and commit Bad Faith causing all E & O premiums to increase as well as major problems for adjusting firms and adjusters being subject to claims litigation for their poor ability to handle claims by going out as newly licensed adjusters without functional claims handling abilitites or claims training that was totally insufficient to send them out in the field or to handle in office claims when they have no training in claim communication and policyholder and agent relationships.

.Why don’t insurance regulators provide requirements for independents like they are now enforcing for public adjusters in many states that INCLUDE apprentice field training subject to hefty fines if  there is any fraud by the source confirming they trained under their supervision. Leaving training to fly by night pop up firms that are not monitored by the state regulators unless they offer CE is not an option in my mind t0 atleast preapproval of the course material by the state. If a class provides CE credit for your state that means that the state department of insurance has atleast approved the course material and approved a minimum acceptable instructor criteria.
. We have learned during our move to the independent side of claims operations
that there is too much lacking in communication between independent adjusters and carrier communications prior to assignments at the independent adjusting firm and independent adjuster level.

We have major hope that we can enhance the need for improved avenues of discussion unrelated to a specific deployment or assignment. We certainly cannot do it alone. We have not figured out what the appropriate method is at this time because adjusters and adjusting firms must be “yes” guys and gals to get assignments and so they don’t lose their contracts. I would never put them in that situation. I am not associated with a carrier or an adjusting firm directly any longer and there are many other retires or those that have left the adjusting field who I am sure would be glad to help bring these issues to the front line.

There are two good organizations you can get recommendations for training options. The first is your local claims association and I also highly recommend NACA – National Assn of Catastrophe adjusters. You can look at their website for a business member directory and locate adjusting firms there. I was disappointed when moving to independent status to find that NAIIA- National Assn of Independent Adjusters was for independent adjusting firms not for individual independents. They have strict requirements to include financial standards and number of years in operation before an adjusting firm can join. Adjusters check their list of business members and send your applications to those firm. I hope to live to see the day that they start a mentoring program such as NACA’s where independent adjusters can join as apprentice members. 

It just goes to show even those firms on the independent side aren’t all independent adjuster friendly except for their core adjusters who can belong to such groups. What about the 10’s of thousands of independents who have to take assignments with her ever calls them since they weren’t called out by their “A” list firm (yes we do recommend independents also make good decisions about who they will deploy with first just as adjusting firms do to determine who will go out first based on independent contract terms, fee schedules, fee splits, reputation of the firm., etc). Whatever you do , do NOT accept assignments without a contract spelling out the terms with all blanks filled in. I’ve posted plenty of blogs here about non payment issues independents could not find representation on because they had either no contract or were never given a copy of the one they did sign nor did they ever see a copy of one signed by an authorized individual with the adjusting firm.

. The claims industry has major problems in regulation of independent adjusting
firms concerning payments from adjusting firms to independent adjusters while at
the same time the adjusting firms experience significant delays from carriers who do not have enough staff claim examiners to promptly review and process claims so not only
policyholders can be paid but so that independents can survive while deployed on catastrophe or assisting branch operations for carriers. 

 Many times the adjusting firm’s reputations suffer  due to delayed payments from the carriers. Insurance departments need to establish requirements for turn around time on not only contact and inspected and closings as they do today but on time limits the carriers have to release the payment to adjusting firms so the independent industry can survive.

For example, you can view the latest RFP 08-0016 on the Citizens of FL  Closed Purchasing documents and they have 30 days to pay the adjusting firm after the adjusting firm submits the closed file. This doesn’t account for weeks or months that could pass by before an overwhelmed adjusting firm who insufficiently staffed their office administration staff or hours could process the claims and submit them to carriers.

. To provide an avenue of open communication regarding RFP or request for
proposals for consideration by carrier claim operations who need good firms to represent them during a major storm. We will post any RFP opportunities by carriers now in our forums for carriers who chose to join as sponsors on our site (see banner ad comments above). This will include a mass distribution email to adjusting firms participating on ClaimSmentor linking them to documents on the carriers site announcing RFP’s for consideration by adjusting firms. At BARE minimum, they could post the RFP and bidding process on their site and let independent adjusting firms know when they are up for consideration and who was selected.

.To foster sources for independent adjusting firms wishing to share information
on growing  technology concerns such as electronic discovery issues, claim
management systems, electronic claim files and other important topics specific
to claims.

 In today’s environment, it still surprises me to see firms who email documents in to the carrier with no way for the adjusting firms or independent adjusters to respond to insureds calling in for file status. That is unacceptable claim service when there are valuable CMS Claim Management systems that are available today such as www.Clickclaims.com that not only allow open access to the live data uploaded in a file  24/7 so anyone taking  agents or customers calls on file status can respond professionally to all customer inquiries.

In addition, systems such as www.ClickClaims.com also provide automatic zoning of claim assignments for tighter assignments so adjusters can see more claims without extensive drive time but also to save on high fuel charges thus saving on the cost of claims handling expenses for both independent adjusters but for insurance carriers as well. We all need to be cost conscious in our claim handling so we are not unnecessarily adding to increased insurance premium costs.

Another CMS feature available today is automatic loss notice uploading and automatic creation of the new file and electronic data fields. Did you know they were so progressive today that they have systems that will even place the first notice by automatically calling the numbers on the loss report submitted by the agent to let the insured know that their claim has been received, what the claim number and carrier contact numbers are, as well as the adjusters name and contact phone number. Now that is service! I have personally used the system in 2004 and 2005. I am not showing favorites but relying on a 2006 AMBest award that Clickclaims won for best CMS System. Simsol, Powerclaims, and Xactware all have them. The difference in using an outside system like ClickClaims is that it is not estimate software specific so you can upload estimates from any system.

I am no software estimate guru but the 2 people our industry can count on to answers questions no matter which software program is www.powerclaims.com and www.simsol.com (Gale Hawkins, owner of PC and John Postava with Simsol). Did you know independents are charge 20.00 just to make a call to ask a support help question. Now that is surely not a consumer friendly position when adjusters working out of hotel rooms should be able to count on them for live support good gracious with the cost they have to pay to activate the software while on storm!

. As a survey source to obtain the opinions from independent firms and
adjusters regarding claim handling issues without them fearing loss of contracts
and work assignments by opening the doors to communication by all parties. 

Polls are a good source for evaluating   independent adjuster opinions. How many times do carriers send out polls to independent adjusters or to staff regarding how the ADJUSTERS evaluate the information they received from carriers, the expertise of the temporary independent and staff claim examiners, claim managers, and reinspectors approving or rejecting their files during a storm?

The only surveys I have ever participated were either on our Adjuster Information blog here (and that would be a total of one thus far) OR via carrier surveys on employee opinion surveys evaluating employees opinions on their permanently assigned managers. Doesn’t this leave out evaluation of the entire temporary assignments while out on catastrophe? I can definitely say that we never received one from the carriers state wide in FL in 04 or 05 after processing their losses.

. To enhance adjuster understanding from a CARRIER claim management perspective through our participating carriers and adjusting firm managers assisting in panels and
forum topics both online and through new field ClaimSmentor groups where
professional sources come together for networking purposes similar to claim
association meetings. Watch for our first announcement coming soon!

. To work with carriers directly as a source for claims talent  cultivation through requests directly to enhance information on their websites so the claims adjusting community can find vendors providing required independent carrier certifications and to enhance information adjusters learn at their required training. Survey results
(unscientic on our recent poll on our blog show most adjusters do not feel that
they obtained adequate training on topics other than on than estimating to
properly service claims meeting carrier file requirements.) You see very little advertisements or job postings from the major adjusting firms as they assume everyone knows who they are. I can assure you newly licensed don’t based on information gathered from our class members who have no idea. It should be the CARRIER’s responsibility to openly post the adjusting firm names authorized to handle claims for each storm along with the information such as website and phone numbers so adjusters can apply to service their claims.

It is not enough for carriers to assume we really are out of adjusters just because a particular firm may have run out but check DOI websites. How can this be when there are over 50,000 adjusters just in Texas alone.

. Hopefully to improve carrier requirements for professional  file requirements
that are also policyholder friendly. The adjusting community has developed an
overwhelming opinion that our industry has become more “pretty file”
friendly than insurance consumer friendly. Just one example is the requirement
for “sketch” type diagrams versus allowing an adjuster to prepare a
professional hand written diagram which is adequate. How many times have you had
a file rejected for being off one inch?

While we understand in this age of claim litigation that file standards be consistent, we also understand surveys from sources such as NAIC continue to show time service issues and adjusters feel in many cases it is due to carrier excessive file requirements.

Lets together work to develop tips for carriers so they improve file review standards for their claim managers. We are NOT talking a union here or any of those options bantered about on web forums but professional carrier level panels. This may never happen but possibly the insurance department consumer affairs division can handle meetings for adjusting firms and independent adjusters without the carriers present ( I can hear them now…those dern independents we aren’t using them anymore and the cycle starts all over again instead of creating a positive training environment to mentor independents).

I innocently suggested to a few carrier claim managers and hr personnel that called me about our services to see why they didn’t use newly licensed adjusters as summer interns instead of teachers and college students. Being licensed carriers would have licensed (versus temporarily licensed) people who could be available year around. Don’t get me wrong, teachers that are off for the summer are a great resource but what about the many hurricanes that make landfall September 0 November. We won’t even go where that discussion went. Just check where your insurance carrier dollars are going by turning on the NASCAR races , golf tournaments  or better yet the super bowl.

 Wouldn’t it make sense to offer apprentice temporary independent positions they can staff through adjusting firms or professional organizations such as NACA? If they are available other than scholarships often posted on carrier sites then I have just not been able to find them. Believe me I tried  requesting grants or support from carriers for our e-mentoring program to no avail. “You know carriers don’t sponsor people that don’t work for them”??? I thought that is exactly who independent adjusters serviced. How very disappointing.

. NAIC  (National Assn of Insurnace Commissioner )cancelled the discussion on the Independent Adjuster Model National licensing recommendations in 2007 or 2008. Use the category link to locate that post here. I’ll get the links updated tomorow so you don’t have to search.

Independent adjusters are now being required to obtain non resident licenses in anywhere from 10 to 15( one email and resume this week from a newly licensed adjuster stated they had already completed 18 non resident licenses but had no other training) states versus allowing them to work under emergency adjuster licenses. There are valid reasons for this but this is also a huge added burden financially to independent
adjusters when carrier staff adjusters are not required to obtain them at all as special rules apply to staff adjusters. Some carriers do license those in call centers that handle claims nationally  but that usually does not apply when they have to resort to rotating in daily adjusters temporarily for peak work loads). Check it out on your state department of insurance licensing website).
Can we work together to promote a better way to qualify adjusters who wish to
service catastrophe claim adjusting needs? New adjusters are misinterpreting comments publicly posted on many adjusting firm websites (especially the large adjusting firms because this is what the carriers are requiring I am assuming )about the non resident requirements so rather than obtaining functional training they think non resident license is the only requirement to obtain adjusting firm deployments.

Claims handling is not a game of bingo where you just fill in the dots to win.” B- Fl license”, C- Tx license, diagram- check, photos- check, you get the idea. That seems to be the manner new trainees are being taught which drives me nuts!

. To enhance independent adjusters understanding of professional claim
development through sources such as www.aicpcu.org versus forum training and
attendance at ridiculous prices at the hundreds of new schools or adjuster websites cropping up nationwide put on by some adjusters with little more than 1 or 2 storms under their belt and no true perspective of carrier management expectations from a
management standpoint. We are here to service carriers and minimal claim
handling practices are destroying the independent talent being deployed by
carriers. One such example includes trainees sharing with us that they were taught at a “claim school” they didn’t have to climb roofs and could do “drive by ” photos. Whew- now that brings fear of Bad Faith for sure! A second example is a firm holding classes that has one 30 day assignment to a windpool as his credentials! It is getting pretty dern scary out here without regulations training firms must meet to allowed to teach something so important as claims handling.

.Together the synergy of our group networking together can improve so many
needs not only for the claims industry but for insurance consumers already
facing an insurance coverage crisis as multiple carriers leave the coast.

. To raise awareness for all adjusters on safety concerns while handling claims
in an environment often hostile to the claims industry post Katrina and Ike.  Just search for safety concern posts we have already posted on our blogs about ladder safety and an adjuster murdered while field inspecting a loss near Tampa, FL several years ago.

. To raise awareness of the often overlooked agency / claims relationship that
is being experienced in claims. I find through the 200 plus newly licensed adjusters
taking our class that they were totally unaware of the need to communicate with agents who have worked long and hard to foster clients while at the same time experiencing
underwriting restrictions worse than at any time I recall in over 30 years in claims. We have two or three blogs here on that very topic!

. To foster relationships with insurance departments to enhance information
available to adjusters regarding complaint ratios for adjusting firms while at
the same time requiring insurance companies to notify insurance departments of
adjusting firms dismissed for unethical or poor claim handling issues.

Insurance consumers should not be subject to claim handling by firms showing  trends for providing inferior claim service nor should adjusters who have spent thousands
of dollars training be subject to abuse by the few bad apples in the adjusting
firm community who repeatedly take advantage of adjusters by not paying
 fees  earned to adjusters.

We need to stop adjusters from calling policyholders to see if they have been paid as it is their only source of information as to  whether the independent adjusting firm was paid and they should have been paid. Carriers need to include information on contacting them in their carrier certification and/ or induction center classes in the event an adjuster becomes the victim of such efforts.

This is a widespread problem carriers need to be aware of. Independent adjusters are forbidden to discuss things like this with carrier staff. Advice often posted about placing liens on an insured’s property and other advice that has not been researched through expert attorneys would never be tolerated by carrier and could totally destroy an adjusting firm or adjusters association with a carrier. Let’s find out what the legal community advises through volunteer articles and guest blog posts or links to great articles found on the web written by law firms specializing both in claim litigation from a consumer standpoint as well as attorneys representing carriers. There are some great articles on so many topics available through article links on public law firm websites at no charge so there just is not an excuse for us not to learn from these outstanding resources.

How about the poor advice many new independents are given about “throw away” phones..see our communication blog for more details. Thank goodness for independent firms or insurance companies now requiring voice mail for customer messages. My personal preference which I required while managing at independent firms is that ALL messages from policyholders be logged into the activity log by the call centers or administrative help. I then required the admns bring all messages directly to me if the call was over an adjuster’s failure to show up for an appointment or to return calls. Most carriers do have such strict requirements while many of the independent firms do not implement those requirements if the carrier has not specified this requirement.

. Due to increased litigation published in news sources and blogs, carriers and adjusting firms are being served with suit papers in an ever increasing number. Questions are regularly posed regarding an adjuster’s training, and independent adjusting firm or TPA’s training for adjusters, and to the adjusters  and or carrier executives themselves.

I have been weighing these problems since Katrina litigation and have finally made a decision that I in good conscious cannot comfortably send adjusters out to adjusting firms when we have no control over their payment delays, the carriers training requirements and other liability issues.

 I have decided to pursue growth of our training services to field networking opportunities through ClaimSmentor to help improve the problems just partially outlined above.

“Pay it forward”  to thank the mentors you have had in your life by joining our efforts at ClaimSmentor and through our Linkedin contacts, and by comments adding to discussions either in the forums, this blog, or our linkedin site. Together we can make a differencef in claim relationships.

We will continue to accept registrations through ClaimSmentor. Members will
have the opportunity to upload their resumes and adjusting firms, recruiters, and carriers to upload a flyer or brochure on their company just as they do now. They will also be able to access our Rosters and find talent that may just meet their needs by considering our members.

Firms can sort by state and experience levels as we have trainees through managers and
experienced adjusters. 

As we will no longer be staffing with the exception of a very few select
existing clients or carrier staff positions, we will begin a service for
carriers and adjusting firms who desire mass distributiion of their opportunities
rather than waiting on adjusters who might just happen to find them on web
advertisements.

 We will be proactive for you so you are not left without qualified adjusters should you wish to participate in this service. This will give you additional candidates to consider for deployment when you have depleted your roster of qualified candidates.

All participants at ClaimSmentor should go to the “MY Account tab” after
login and change your preference to allow or not allow emails from our mailing
system to your registration email. However, note that this will also prevent you
from receiving notifications on topics you want updates on. All member profiles
are required to have an active valid email address under our Terms of Use posted
in the forums as well as real first and last name and city and state.

Please allow 10 days to receive your login id and password if you are a new
registrant as we are presently overwhelmed with requests for membership as we
transition thousands of adjusters from our claim staffing rosters to members of
ClaimSmentor for those who confirm they would like to participate.

 If you are a  member of our rosters receiving this announcement by email, we will not automatically register you at www.ClaimSmentor.com. You must reply to the email you receive from Debbie@Dimechimes.com requesting specifically to join. We will not upload your resume or profile fields. You can do that upon first login when you join.

Watch for much more information in our forums coming very soon as well as
upgrades on all of our sites to include this blog and our new Dimechimes ClaimSmentor Claims group located under Insurance Claims groups at :

www.linkedin.com/dimechimesclaimsmentor.com

We cannot thank you enough for your continued support and participation in our
ClaimSmentor e-mentoring project to support the claims industry and to those who were members of our deployment/assignment rosters.

We do hope you will be supportive of our ClaimSmentor efforts. The S in
ClaimSmentor has always stood for service to the claims industry and we will now
“major” in those service attempts!

The only change you should see is improvement in our forums, blog posts, and experience and credentials of mentors who join to participate enhancing your membership at ClaimSmentor, and many more claim assignment opportunities for those moving from our rosters at Dimechimes Claim Staffing as we network and register many new members to bring you information. We will be posting many more insurance and claim recruiters and job posting sites information now that I no longer have will have a competitor joining from the recruiting side.

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You can find all website and contact information at the About page here on our blog.


Have License Ready To Go! Not So Quick- Take this Self Assessment Test

February 13, 2009

We receive hundreds of emails yearly if not monthly from new adjusters specifying they now have their adjuster’s license and are ready to go as they look for independent adjuster assignments. Many will have great backgrounds in construction, auto repair backgrounds, insurance agency, and other related fields.
 
What they do not have that they do not understand is a grasp on the functional essentials to properly adjust a claim. They may have learned state ethics requirements for adjusters, some basic policy to pass the adjuster’s license exam, but little regarding practical file requirements, carrier claim handling guidelines, forms required, proper communication tools and appropriate forms of communication.
 
If you think you are ready…try taking this self assessment and see how many questions you are comfortable with before you go out on assignments and see if you are ready!

Whether you take our 50 Hour Fundamentals of Claims Class or obtain training elsewhere, please do not go out on assignments without taking much needed training from PROFESSIONAL sources. We post them all in our Seminars Forum, our Training Material Forum, in industry Claim Conference postings all found right  on ClaimSmentor. See About page for all website/contact information.
 
This is not by any means a complete list of things you should know but just a 125 sample assessment test of SOME of the minimum things you should know before working property residential claims.
 
Career Self Test Questions:
 
1) What are pros and cons of being a staff adjuster versus an independent adjuster?
 
2) What different type of fee schedules are available for independents to work under?
 
3) What are typical fee splits between independent adjuster and adjusting firms?
 
4)  What parts of independent contract do you need to be careful about before signing?
 
5)  What equipment must you provide yourself to perform your required field adjusting duties?
 
6)  What information will you be given at an induction center meeting versus what you are expected to know at arrival?
 
7)  What things are you required to have on an adjuster’s resume? What format should you use if you are new to the field? If you are experienced?
 
8)  What are holdbacks on fee schedule payments?
 
9)  How much money do you need to deploy on a catastrophe assignment?
 
10)  When should you expect to receive your first fee payments once you start processing catastrophe files?
 
11) What are dress codes for adjusters as required by carriers?
 
12) What are expected hours at a catastrophe assignment?
 
13) What is the difference in pay for an inside adjuster versus a field adjuster?
 
14) What is the average annual income for an independent adjuster? For a staff adjuster trainee?
 
15) What career field options are available for you to pursue?
 
16) How much errors and omissions coverage is it recommended you carry? Should you furnish your own even if the independent adjusting firm offers to furnish it for a fee? Does your E and O cover your defense costs if a claim goes to suit and you are named in the lawsuit?
 
Adjuster Ethics Self Test Questions
 
17) Is it ok to take salvage from an insured?
 
18) Is it ok to take gifts from insureds, contractors, attorneys?
 
19) Is it ok to select a contractor for an insured or recommend a contractor?
 
20) Is it ok to meet a contractor over dinner to reconcile differences in your estimate?
 
21) Is it ok to use an assistant with you in the field who is not licensed to assist with the paper work and calls from insureds?
 
22) Is it ok to discourage an insured from filing an insurance department complaint?
 
23) Is it ok to discourage an insured from hiring an attorney or a public adjuster?
 
24 ) Is it ok to inspect a large group of claims and later write them up once you conclude your inspections?
 
25) Is it ok if you are using an assistant like a husband/wife team of independent adjusters for the non file assigned person to write the activity logs for the one assigned the file?
 
Dealing with insureds- Self Assessment Questions
 
26) What is the minimum time frame most carriers expect you to go by for first contact with insured?
 
27) When should insured expect a personal inspection once you have contacted them?
 
28) Can you accept lump sum estimates from insured?
 
29) When is it required you obtain original documents such as repair estimates from an insured vs copies? Why?
 
30) When is the appropriate time to get contents inventory forms to an insured?
 
31) Who are high profile insureds you should give priority treatment during a catastrophe assignment?
 
32) How do you determine who you should see first if you are assigned a large group of files on a catastrophe assignment when you arrive?
 
33) What is the appropriate way to zone your assignments if given this large number of new claims upon arrival at a catastrophe site?
 
34) What form should you review before ever calling the insured and what parts of this form are important?
 
35) If the insured wants to talk to your manager, what is your appropriate way to deal with this?
 
36) In addition to getting contents inventory forms to an insured immediately, what other forms should be given to the insured if the home is uninhabitable?
 
37) If the insured has damage under multiple coverages on a residential claim which one should you discuss with them first?
 
38) Where would you meet with an insured if the home is uninhabitable? How would you determine the amount of an advance they might need? What authorization can you give them for getting a hotel and eating meals out?
 
39) When is proof of ownership required on a contents claim?
 
40) What 4 items should you ask an insured for on each contents item claimed?
 
Carrier File Requirement Self Assessment
 
41) What 3 ratios does the carrier constantly monitor to see if you are meeting their time service requirements?
 
42) Do carriers allow you to use custom made forms such as your own excel contents sheet?
 
43) Do carriers allow you to use email to communicate with an insured?
 
44) Do independent adjusting firms allow you to communicate with the staff carrier claim manager or adjuster?
 
45) Which carriers are going to require you to get a carrier certification exam successfully passed before you can work their claims for an adjusting firm?
 
46) What language is required on all forms a carrier gives to an insured to sign?
 
47) Who keeps copies of all claim file documents and material..you or the carrier or both?
 
48) What do you do if you receive suit papers on a claim?
 
49) What is required if the carrier receives an insurance department complaint? What steps are you required to take?
 
50) How do you close out a claim if the insured withdraws the claim? What paperwork is required?
 
51) What should you do if a severity code is incorrect in the system on a claim? Who sets up the severity code? Why does it matter?
 
52) How do you establish a claim reserve? How often are you required to change the reserve? What coverages require a reserve? What is the appropriate manner to determine a reserve amount?
 
Dealing with Insurance Agents- Self Assessment
 
53) Are you required to keep the agent up to date with the status of the file?
 
54) Should an agent be copied on all letters to an insured?
 
55) If the insured has a complaint, should you inform the agent or is it none of the agent’s business since the claim was assigned to the claims department?
 
56) What contact is recommended with agency offices when you arrive at your assigned catastrophe department?
 
57) What is the appropriate thing to do if an agent tries to get you to inspect all of their storm losses before other claims?
 
58) Do claim payments affect an agents loss ratio for regular claims? For catastrophe claims?
 
59) When should you notify an agent of underwriting concerns such as maintenance issues? Who else should you notify?
 
60 ) What would you say to an insured that alleges “the agent should have told me that” or “the agent didn’t offer me that coverage”? What process would you have to follow to investigate that?
 
Attorney and Public Adjuster (PA) requirements-self assessment
 
61) What file documentation do you need if the insured advises you they have contracted with a PA before you talk to the PA about
the details of the claim?
 
62) Where do you go to check the rules the PA must abide by in a given state?
 
63) Is the contract the insured signs with a PA a contract with the insurer meaning the insurer must comply? Does the contract waive any rights the carrier has?
 
64) Can you still talk to the insured if they have a contract with a PA?
 
65) Can you ask for the insured to be present if they have a PA?
 
66) What duties does insured have with the carrier if they now have a PA involved in their claim?
 
67) Who pays the PA and how much is allowed?
 
68) Can you talk to an insured if they have hired an attorney?
 
69) Can you inspect a claim if the insured has an attorney without the attorney present?
 
70) What documentation do you need from an attorney if they call to say they are representing the insured?
 
71) Can you send a letter to an insured if they have an attorney?
 
72) Are you obligated to notify the agent if the insured has an attorney or a PA?
 
73) What do you do if you get a time demand letter from a PA? From an attorney?
 
Good Faith Claim handling- Self Assessment?
 
74) What are you required to do to be in compliance with good faith claim handling statutes?
 
75) What do you do if an insured, attorney, or PA accuses you of being in bad faith?
 
76) What are the top reasons for bad faith due to adjuster claim handling problems?
 
File requirements self assessments questions
 
77) What 2 things are used if a coverage question or questions becomes known by the adjuster? What is the name of the form? What is the name of the letter? When do you use each? Can you proceed with investigating the claim when there is a coverage issue?
 
78) What is the name of the report used on large losses, daily claims to summarize the details of the claim? When is it due in to carrier?
 
79) What is the name of the form used to summarize all recommended payments broken down by coverage ?
 
80) What are minimum activity log file requirements? What are the “no’s” or do’s and don’ts of creating an activity log? What entries are required to be on the log?
 
81) What is proper file order for building, contents, and additional living expense documents?
 
82) What is the proper name for each of the  electronic file documents required to be uploaded to a carrier claim file if they use a claim management system?
 
83) What do you do if approached in the field by an insured and their claim is NOT assigned to you? What does the carrier expect?
 
84) When is a Sworn Proof of Loss form required? Who completes it? When is it due?
 
85) What do you do if the insured does not want the mortgage company name of the claim payment? What policy provision do you show the insured?
 
86) What forms do you use if the insured requires appraisal? Can you demand appraisal? If so, what steps do you need to follow?
 
87) Are you required to go over the settlement with the insured  in person once you have finished your estimate?
 
88) How should your file be documented when you have items still pending on the claim?
 
89) What things do you have authority to authorize without the carriers permission when discussing claims with an insured?
 
90) How do you document your claim file if you disagree with instructions from your claim manager ?
 
91) What is the best method to approach your manager about questions you have on the claim? What information should you have with you before going to them? How should the file be documented?
 
Policy Coverage Assessment- Self Assessment
 
92) Who is responsible to get the policy to the insured, agent, attorney or pa when a request is received for a copy of the policy? Do you give them a sample policy from the carrier office or who and what kind of policy is sent to them?
 
93) What reference books are recommended to have out in the field with you for policy forms and endorsements?
 
94)  What forms and endorsements and policies should you always have with you in the field?
 
95) Is it necessary to quote policy language exactly when you deny a portion of the claim?
 
96) Are you familiar with state mandated form language? How about state mandated mediation programs and forms required to notify an insured of their rights? What dollar limit applies requiring you give the insured this information?
 
97) What policy language do you refer to if an insured asks for payment for their time completing inventory forms?
 
98) What do you do if an insured claims items not covered? Property for people not covered on their policy? What letters and forms are required? What policy language would you refer the insured to to discuss this?
 
99) What many questions must you ask an insured to determine the appropriate place for them if their home is uninhabitable? Is an apt needed, a rental house, and how do you assess this? Who is responsible to locate temporary living quarters? What are abatements on Additional living expense coverage and how do you apply them? Who covers their security deposits?
 
100 )Settlements- What provision in the policy explains ACV? What process do you follow to calculate ACV and to notify the insured of RC provisons and how they collect them? How long do they have to collect them?
 
101) How long does an insured have to file suit on a claim? What is the Statute called that applies to this time limit? Where do you find it for each state?
 
Estimatic Self Assessment Questions
 
102) What are carrier guidelines on matching issues?
 
103) How does the pair and set clause apply to contents losses? To building losses?
 
104) Is it acceptable to offer the insured an appearance allowance on a damaged building or contents item?
 
105) What are line of site issues when determining how far to scope on building interior damage?
 
106) What are carrier acceptable methods of determining minimum charges?
 
107) What are general guidelines for allowing for overhead and profit on an estimate?
 
108) Can you pay an insured 10% profit if they do the work themselves?
 
109) How do you detemine the appropriate depreciation for building components? For contents items?
 
110) Is it ok to enter contents items in a building estimate as a miscellaneous item? Why or why not?
 
111) What do you do if you are unable to scope a building damaged item? Is it ok to copy the contractors scope and insert it into your estimate?
 
112) What is the best method for reconciling differences in your scope with the contractors scope?
 
113) If the insured’s contractors estimate is lower than your estimate what do you do? Which is used for fee schedule billing purposes?
 
114) IS it ok to recommend contractors to insured? If so, under what circumstances?
 
115) When are you required to review prior losses to avoid duplication on your current damage estimate?
 
116) What do you do if you suspect the damage you are inspecting is intentional versus accidental? (Example- insured uses a hammer to create appearance of hail damage to roof)?
 
117) Is it ok to round up or down on measurements? Is it ok to use the contractors measurements?
 
118) What are the major reasons for scoping issues when reconciling your estimate to a contractors?
 
119) What trades is it generally acceptable to allow overhead and profit and which trades is it considered not acceptable?
 
120) Is it ok to override a price in an estimating program with a manual entry? If so, how should you document your file?
 
121 ) What estimating program do you need training on? Where is it best to acquire it? Do you need to learn multiple systems? What is the cost involved?
 
122) Should an estimate need to be revised after you’ve given it to the insured what do you do with the original estimate once you have rewritten it?
 
123) If you reject acceptance of a lump sum bid insured provides from a contractor, should you keep a copy in your file?
 
124) Name the company many firms use to send off material samples for flooring such as carpet and tile and the process to follow to submit the sample
 
125) Are you required to agree to a scope with a contractor the insured has NOT signed a contract with to do the work?
 
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We cover these topics and much more during our 10 sessions of Fundamentals of Property Adjusting class held online LIVE on Monday and Thursday evenings. We will also hold class during the day should we receive enough registrants requesting the day course.  Our next class starts March 2, 2009.  IF you take the above self assessment and find you need more training, please join us at ClaimSmentor today if you are not already a member to register for our upcoming class. Again this does not begin to cover what you need to know to properly handle claims but gives you a great idea of how much more training you do need in addition to acquiring an adjuster’s state license.

We will also be posting much information in the next week on other sources of training also available as online options as well as the best of the best field training options for those wishing to pursue a career as an independent adjuster.

It is most important you avoid classes held by instructors with little to no experience themselves. It is always utmost important that you learn from experienced personnel and that you ask about the qualifications of the instructor. I personally find it important that adjusters take classes from (at minimum ) folks with both staff and independent experience as they are much more familiar with what goes on from a staff claim management perspective regarding expectations to properly train you in carrier expectations versus possible minimally acceptable file standards that barely meet the muster of carrier file reviews.

I’ve been teaching our Fundamentals of Claims class for several years now with over 200 now processing through our class. I hear their stories and in many cases from adjusters who did go out on their first assignment during Katrina and or Ike who were not given good training and had not known how much there really was to learn only to get sent home and in some cases worse yet to be told they can no longer work claims for a carrier they had worked hard to establish a relationship with. Many assume that if they pass the carrier certification test which is usually on estimatics that they are good to go. Is what these trainees are missing is that the carrier also has high expectations that you already know other basic essentials like proper communication skills, forms, policy language ,etc which definitely is not the case for many sent out.

Is what I don’t like going on in our industry is that many books available and many classes are being hosted by some independent adjusters that have little to no practical experience themselves. It takes years  before one should even consider writing a book, hosting a course or other such classes.

It is really becoming an epidemic in the independent field with classes available if you just check around the classifieds and postings on many sites. We hope to direct you in future blog postings to reputable adjusting firms and classes hosted by some of the more professional vendors our members have found in their training path.

One of the fallouts we are seeing from this inexperience being passed on is that the trainers with little background do not understand the backlash  of some of the poor instructions being given out  and as such I do believe it is leading to the increase in claim litigation  due to  poor decisions and claim handling skills by newer adjusters improperly trained.

The very last thing you should want is to barely be acceptable and only to be assigned deployment opportunities when they’ve run out of adjusters with more professional claim handling skills. The better you are the longer you will be kept out on independent assignments, the less chance you have in being sued for bad faith claim handling activities, the more satisfied insureds will be with their claim handling experience thus reducing Insurance Department complaints,  and the happier the carrier will be with your work product!

 

**Sorry about the smilee faces showing up every time I use the number eight. Every time I use it is shows up when published as a smilee face. If anyone knows how to overcome that issue please let me know!


Hurricane Gustav Expected to be Major-Emergency TX and LA license links / Claim Statistics for TS Fay/Eduardo/Dolly

August 26, 2008

 

What a surprise to wake up today to find that Gustav reached hurricane strength so quickly and also to hear the current news with predictions it will make US landfall as anywhere from a Category 3 to a Category 5 strength hurricane.

My favorite weather reports over at Ralph’s Tropical weather show not only Hurricane Gustav now at 90 MPH but other areas with potential for development:

http://ralphstropicalweather.homestead.com/RalphTropicalWeatherOut.html

Here is also the latest 11am stormtrack report over at Ralph’s:

http://ralphstropicalweather.homestead.com/StormTrack.html

The 2pm NOAA hurricane tracking map looks dead on for LA again (unreal with the 3 year anniversary of Katrina this week):

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/refresh/graphics_at2+shtml/084813.shtml?5day#contents

Here are important links on Adjuster licensing for TX and LA. It’s important to remember that LA has added adjuster licensing post Katrina so the rules have changed since the last major storm in LA:

TX emergency adjuster license info:

http://www.tdi.state.tx.us/licensing/agent/revagtemeradj.html

TX Resident and Non Resident adjuster license link:

http://www.tdi.state.tx.us/licensing/agent/index.html

LA emergency adjuster licensing info as well as resident and non resident info is very difficult to find. The new law was effective January of 2007. Here is a link to the info we found last year on their website:

(Make sure to read all such as Claims Adjuster License Act,etc):

http://www.ldi.state.la.us/Licensing/Producer/index.htm

http://www.ldi.state.la.us/Documents/Licensing/Producer/LAClaimsAdjusterAct.pdf

Worley adjusting firm actually has the LA Adjusters study guide link up on their site:

https://worleyco.com/publications_sale_adjuster.php

**Update Wednesday 8/27- See comments at end of this blog for addition of MS emergency adjuster and non resident/resident license info and applications

You might want to keep this LA Road closure and evacuation route info handy if traveling into the area next week:

http://www.ohsep.louisiana.gov/evacinfo/rdclosureindex.htm

*************

Many of you are following or searching for claim statistics from TS Fay. Thus far, the majority of reports are showing statistics anywhere between 9,000 and 11,000 claims from the top 5 carriers depending on which report you read. Here are numerous links to update you by carrier:

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/blogs/content/shared-blogs/palmbeach/insurance/entries/2008/08/25/fay_claims_growing.html

Here are more stories of St John’s River flooding HO claims:

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/weather/hurricane/orl-floods2608aug26,0,6799981.story

Another interesting story on flooding hitting non covered HO’s hard:

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/storm/content/business/epaper/2008/08/25/0825floodinsure.html

This report alleges 11,000 claims vs the 9,200 in other reports above from top 4 carriers:

http://www.propertyandcasualtyinsurancenews.com/cms/nupc/Breaking+News/2008/08/25-FAY-mr

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In other interesting 2008 Hurricane Season updates, you’ll want to take a minute to read this update on the status of the Texas Windpool (TWIA )funds available post Hurricane Dolly and Eduardo:

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southcentral/2008/08/26/93100.htm

Updates 9/2/08: Damage Stats and Temp Housing Links in Gustav damage zones:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/09/03/preliminary-damage-statistics-from-hurricane-gustav-updates-on-temporary-housing-in-gustav-damage-territories/


FL Emergency Adjuster Regulations for Tropical Storm Fay

August 21, 2008

 

Independent adjusters working Tropical Storm Fay claims will need a FL Emergency Adjuster license per the following directive by the FL Department of Insurance if you do not have a resident or non resident FL license:

http://www.myfloridacfo.com/agents/Emer-Rules/Emer_Adj_Instruct.htm


August 2008- Career Coaching Updates and August Online Claim Class Updates

August 5, 2008

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We had previously blogged about our Career Coaching Services for individual one on one sessions for claims career consultation services here:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/09/29/claim-career-coachingconsultant-services-for-new-adjusters/

We are receiving many many emails that basically say “help me” from folks who do not know where to get started in the claims business and from those who have obtained licenses but don’t know where to turn next.

If you are interested in information for new adjusters in a group setting, we offer our services at no charge on ClaimSmentor which is an online mentoring site for new adjusters through forums where we provide information about upcoming adjusting firm and vendor training seminars for CE credits and for Carrier Certifications and other valuable training offered in the Claims Industry. You can find contact and website information for all of our Claim Industry websites on the About page here on our blog.

Website search and information in group settings isn’t for everyone and many prefer one on one information specific to their background for a quicker jump start into their claims careers. If this is your preference, you can order our Career Coaching Services to assist you with goal setting, resume development, mock interviews to prepare for upcoming claim interviews, and much more training available on an individual basis through our Career Coaching services. Here is a link:

http://www.claims-portal.com/psps/psitem.cfm?psid=234

We have also updated our online claim training options for new Adjusters for August on ClaimSmentor for the following August Classes:

40 Hour Fundamentals of Claims Class for Property Adjusters-Starts 8/11/08

Condo Loss Adjusting Class for Condo Unitowners and Condo Master Policies- begins next week- 2 night online Live Class with pre-class self study material

Contents Loss Adjusting Class- 1 night class- online Live- begins next week

Additional Living Expense (ALE) 2 night training class-August 2008

To learn more about these classes, you can view complete details once we get you registered on ClaimSmentor in our Training Roots and Wings Forum.

We also offer self study guides for those needing training but no time for classes due to other obligations. This material can be ordered through our Training link at our staffing firm site. (See About page on blog for contact info)

Note- contact us for pricing information if you are a carrier or adjusting firm wishing to have these programs presented LIVE to your group for a group discount. These can be presented online OR in the field.

We hope to see many new members join us! We presently have over 850 members registered at ClaimSmentor to include experienced adjusters, claim managers, claim firm owners, and trainee adjusters as well as adjusting firm HR staff visiting regularly accessing our resume data base for assignment potential among our members.


Exciting News- Vale Tech now offers 500 Online Classes!

June 12, 2008

 

I had just written recently about the need for change in the way we educate independent adjusters as many of the courses available are cost prohibitive to independent adjusters who must pay their own expenses so when you add hotels, gas mileage, and the course tuition to the mix, it’s almost impossible for them to attend the many types of training that they need.

Here are links to the prior blogs on gas expenses and on carrier certification classes. In fact, I had suggested carriers use a reputable firm such as Vale National Technical schools to administer carrier certifications. Another serious problem is that we are seeing leaps and bounds in new training schools offered by adjusters who barely have experience themselves and the last place new adjusters should be going to obtain valuable training advice. I am hopeful many new adjusters will take advantage instead of taking courses such as these offered by Vale where it not only is offered by a reputable firm but also by a name that is well recognized in the claims industry thus adding value to your resume and training background.

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/05/01/insurance-carrier-claim-certifications-where-do-you-test-for-them-much-improvement-needed-in-the-process-of-certifying-independent-adjusters/

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/05/29/what-role-are-rising-gas-prices-going-to-play-in-your-deployment-decisions-for-hurricane-season-2008-carriers-and-adjusting-firms-should-meet-the-need/

Well the solutions are quickly rolling out! We were very excited yesterday to receive a press release from Vale Tech  announcing they are now offering 500 online classes! I can’t tell you the many many times that I’ve talked to new adjusters or seen posts in adjuster forums from folks who wanted Vale field classes but could not afford to attend. Here is the press release:

Here’s the press release:

Date: Wed, 11 Jun 2008 15:54:29 -0500
Subject: Vale National Training Centers Launches 500 New Courses Online
From: Mike Holcomb <mholcomb@csbrand.com>
To: Insurance News Editor mholcomb@csbrand.com

Dear Editor:Attached please find a media release about Vale National Training Centers and the launch of an on-line extension of their training and continuing education curriculum for insurance claims professionals.

Please consider the information for publication in the near future. 

Many Thanks!  

Mike Holcomb
Media Coordinator
Cornerstone Brand Communications, for
Vale National Training Centers.

903-534-5220  FAX 903-534-5811
mholcomb@csbrand.com

    

 

 

 

Vale National Training Centers Launches 500 New Courses Online.

ARLINGTON, Texas – Vale National Training Centers, Inc, a recognized leader in insurance industry educational services, has launched an online extension to their signature classroom-based proficiency development curriculum for claim professionals.

Dramatically increasing their course offerings, Vale National has added approximately 500 distance-learning modules available immediately through a standard web browser. This new capability includes instruction for Texas adjuster licensing, multi-state agent pre-licensing and exam prep, insurance continuing education, professional designations in addition to general business, finance and professional development.

“We’ve been working on this for several years, but see the rapidly evolving industry demands for fast, convenient and cost-efficient personnel education as the perfect environment for this new service,” said Steve LeClaire, president of Vale National Training Centers. “It not only eliminates employee travel and lodging expenses, but lost productivity from being out of the office as well.”

“Combined with our instructor-led courses and their proven record of converting knowledge into applied skill, this library of hundreds of online courses allows us to custom design an ideal program for each training manager and his personnel,” said LeClaire. “We can provide comprehensive training to new employees, supplementation to experienced professionals, focused training for specialized staff and career development for personnel throughout a company. This includes department heads, supervisors, appraisers, adjusters, examiners, as well as local office managers and sales agents.”

Vale National’s online courses are available through their website and can be accessed at anytime and from any computer with an Internet connection and common system compatibility. Basic courses can often be completed in one session, but just as longer courses are divided into multiple learning sessions, the system allows students to work at their own pace, tracking their progress and storing their responses until their course is complete.

 

The system also gives training managers the ability to review and monitor their employees’ performance, maintaining a record of all subjects mastered and providing notification when course requirements are met successfully.  

Vale National Training Centers has trained over 40,000 industry professionals since 1949 and operates instructor-led classroom training facilities in California, Pennsylvania and Texas. A member company of the Cunningham Lindsey Group, Vale National’s online program is developed in partnership with 360˚ Training, an independent online training company.

For more information about Vale National Training Centers or their classroom, on-site or on-line training options, visit http://www.valenational.com or contact Steve LeClaire at sleclaire@valenational.com.

About Cunningham Lindsey

Cunningham Lindsey U.S. Inc. is an independent insurance claims services company, providing a wide range of claims adjusting services including commercial property and liability, personal lines, catastrophe response, and environmental assessment and remediation. Its national network of 141 offices also provides worldwide services through offices of sister companies within the Cunningham Lindsey Group strategically located throughout Canada, the United Kingdom, continental Europe, the Far East, Latin America and the Middle East. CLUS is a subsidiary of Cunningham Lindsey Group Limited.

For additional information contact David Repinski, C.E.O, at (214) 488-6713, or drepinski@CL-NA.com or visit our website at http://www.cunninghamlindseyus.com.

****************

Vale is used by many carriers for residential and commerical building estimating courses for their new adjusters. I attended a 3 week Vale course in my early years back in PA and I can attest to the fact the training was outstanding and our class was the toughest I ever took in my career having no residential construction experience when I attended. Whew ….was that ever nerve wracking as it was a requirement to keep our adjusting positions back in those years!

I’ll be going through the course offerings and make a list of recommendations for beginners, intermediate, and advanced courses for those interested in these classes but don’t know where to start so you have some idea where to begin and to prioritize your training if there isn’t already those suggestions on their website.

I don’t want to overlook also mentioning the Automobile, Residential, and Commerical estimating workbooks now also available that I had also just posted about on ClaimSmentor last week when I found them which also would be excellent field reference material for new adjusters or those advancing to commercial claim handling:

http://www.valenational.com/products.html

We’ll be writing another blog within the next week or so linking to a few more online programs that provide excellent opportunities for online adjuster training.

Another point to be sure to understand is that adjusting firms and carriers understand the value of Vale Tech courses so taking these would be an excellent addition to your resumes upon completion thus they have my FULL endorsement for their new programs!


VA Tornado Damage- The Carrier Claim Numbers Are Coming In

April 30, 2008

 

We have been monitoring the news for updates on the Carrier number of claims reported as a result of the tornado damage in VA this week in Suffolk County and other communities. Here are some news stories of interest quoting carriers. At this point, the number of the carriers polled in these news stories does not exceed 200 for any carrier so I do not imagine there will be a major need thus far for independent adjusters. Having said that, the news stories linked to below also indicate that homeowners still are not allowed into some areas due to power lines down and gas leaks so those numbers are expected to grow as many of the carriers interviewed indicated.

Here is information on the Declaration of an Emergency declared which normally triggers a state to allow adjusters in to operate under an emergency adjusters license. Checking the VA Dept of Insurance website, I am not finding any information related to adjuster emergency licenses or even resident adjuster licenses required. Here is a link to the Virginia Insurance Department-click here. I was able to get through to the VA Insurance Licensing division and spoke with “Richard” at 804-371-9631 and was advised that VA does not require a license for resident adjusters or emergency adjusters. Quite amazing and so NOT a good idea these days!

Here’s some great video footage of the damage in VA: click here

 According to the Virginia-Pilot news, none of the carriers were reporting more than 200 claims as of yesterday – here’s a link to their news article quoting several carriers and also indicating many homeowners have yet to be allowed to return to their neighborhoods thus they are expecting many more claims to be reported. Click here for the article. Also, according to this second article at the same site, the damage is expected to exceed 20 million dollars. Click here for the 2nd article. This next article contains a bit more information on damage and has some good links to photos of the damage as well. Click here to view.

The NAIIA (National Association of Independent Insurance Adjusters) has 29 Adjusting firms listed for VA. Click here to view. This wouldn’t be all inclusive but a good start if your core firms you prefer aren’t sending folks in (and of course if we don’t get staffing requests for the assignment since the numbers are relatively low as far as deploying independents). Sometimes, the carriers will still deploy a few independents from some of the local firms who assist with daily claims and branch assist assignments when there isn’t enough work to warrant calling in their national catastrophe teams (usually requires 500 or more claims in a state as a result of one storm for most carriers). Here is also an AM Best Adjusters list of firms they list where you can search by state for firms-click here.

You will also find the link to the VA Fairplan for adjusters wanting to send them resume (site presently shows no employment opportunities but given the damage this week that could change) or for adjusting firms wishing to solicit their business- click here .


Top Blogs of Interest to New Adjusters July 2007- April 2008

April 28, 2008

 

You can search the Archives for all blogs we’ve entered since we began this blog in July 2007 but it’s very time consuming we know! In an effort to assist new adjusters entering the claims field, we are providing the links to the top read blogs on careers, fee schedules, claim salaries, adjuster safety issues, errors and omissions coverage and other blogs that would be of interest to new claims folks such as those seeking careers also as auto adjusters. Here’s a link to everything in our archives applicable to new adjusters (and experienced alike who may want some up to date information):

)
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/07/27/claim-career-information-the-pros-and-cons-of-going-staff-adjuster-versus-independent-adjuster/

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/10/13/auto-adjuster-claim-careers-an-interview-with-adjusting-firm-owner-carey-oconnor-with-csp-claims/

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/07/26/most-commonly-asked-question-is-how-much-income-can-i-make-as-an-adjuster/

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/07/26/catastrophe-adjuster-resumes-the-requirements-to-get-noticed-do-differ/

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/08/30/adjustin-to-adjusting-guest-blogger-linda-goodson-first-storm-duty-was-katrina/

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/08/24/claims-magazine-claims-salary-survey-is-upplease-participate/

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/10/19/claim-salary-survey-is-up-at-claims-magazine/

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/08/17/billingual-adjusters-in-big-demand-please-update-your-resume-if-applicable/

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/08/14/adjuster-fees-in-the-news-the-time-is-now-to-educate-the-insurance-media-and-press/

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/08/12/splish-splash-dont-go-takin-a-bath-understanding-independent-firm-contracts/

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/09/27/independent-adjuster-vs-employee/

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/09/24/insurance-adjuster-overtime-pay-issues-and-complaints-in-the-news/

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/09/14/field-adjuster-safety-concerns-be-careful-remembering-katie-froeschle-of-tampa-fl/

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/04/10/adjuster-safety-another-warning-march-08-nationwide-adjuster-shot-in-vehicle-in-tn-while-on-storm-duty/

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/09/12/commitment-part-2-standby-calls-what-should-i-do-how-are-cat-codes-determined/

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/10/24/california-insurance-commissioner-clears-the-way-for-non-cdi-emergency-adjusters-to-handle-wildfire-losses/

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/10/20/cat-tales-by-guest-bloggers-kim-and-nelson-stegall-their-first-storm-experience/

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/10/11/auto-claim-training-what-options-do-i-have/

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/11/20/major-changes-in-the-way-carriers-recruit-and-train-adjustersis-there-really-a-lack-of-available-adjusters/

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/11/14/tomorrow-is-postmark-deadline-to-get-applications-in-to-join-naca-national-assn-of-catastrophe-adjusters/

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/12/12/nfip-national-flood-2008-adjuster-certification-classes-are-now-posted/

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/01/10/do-you-really-know-what-your-errors-and-omissions-coverage-covers/

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/02/08/errors-and-omissions-coverage-guest-bloggers-dale-moore-client-relations-director-for-cplic/

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/02/05/luckwhere-preparation-meets-opportunity-published-208-in-claims-education-magazine/

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/04/23/registration-deadline-42508-for-next-40-hour-fundamentals-of-claims-online-live-class/
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Next 40 Hour Fundamentals of Claims Class ONLINE-begins April 7, 2008

March 29, 2008

careercoach_12.gif

We will begin our next 40 hour ONLINE Fundamentals of Claims class to be held on Monday and Thursday evenings from 6-9pm CST at ClaimSmentor on Monday April 7, 2008 through May 1, 2008.

This is 24 hours of online  LIVE instruction and 16 hours of pre-class reading material on general insurance carrier requirements for Property claim assignment handling. We touch on Additional Living Expense training and worksheets, Contents Claim handling and contents estimating software and depreciation, jewelry losses, common contents claim limits and coverage issues, estimate reconciliation issues, dealing with attorneys and public adjusters, coverage claim handling, complaint resolution handling, insurance department complaint handling, carrier/adjuster codes of conduct and ethics expectations, independent contracts and things to watch for when signing on with a new adjusting firm, and the favorite portion of the class is always our mock disaster assignment where you learn about agency relationships and carrier management expectations of you as well as  fee bill samples and discussions regarding the various fee billing types you may be asked to work under so you understand what benefits YOU as the adjuster the most. We close the class out with file requirement/documentation requirements and open question and answer sessions so trainees feel welcome to ask questions as they are in all classes. Much more is covered as well as numerous claim current events you need to be aware of before dealing with the public this storm season.

New adjusters often make the mistake of thinking obtaining  an adjuster’s license and an estimatic class is all that is necessary to go out on catastrophe or to begin handling claims. That is only a very small portion of what is necessary before you should EVER consider accepting assignments. One only has to view many of the lawsuits against adjuster’s and adjusting firms that have taken place in the wake of Hurricane Katrina to understand it is more important now than ever to have a much more indepth understanding of claim file handling PRIOR to going out on claims. The consequences for unprofessional claim handling are higher now than ever and it’s most important you obtain as much detail and understanding as you can before you accept assignments.

This course can be taken alone or in conjunction with our Career Coaching services where we personalize your resume customized for a new claims career as well as a detailed review of your background and assess your best possibilities for gainful employment in the claims industry according to your educational background. We include a roadmap to success by goal setting outlining courses you need, certifications that are a must, and other things you personally need to do to fill missing gaps to get you noticed by adjusting firms and carriers as well during our career coaching session. Just email us if you are interested in individual career coaching along with the class to maximize your future career potential. (Contact info found on About page on this blog)

If you are not a member of ClaimSmentor, you are welcome to register and join us for this next class if you are an independent or staff adjuster trainee or fairly new adjuster looking for more in depth training.  (Registration info found on About us page on this blog)